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Set up and electrotypMl. Published May, 1914. 

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Norwood, Mms., U.S.A. 







Chapter I. A Prospectus, not a Forecast .... 3 

1. Moulding the Future 2. The Word «* Spiritual" 3. States- 
manship in Religion 

Chapter II. When Religion and Patriotism are Identical 9 

1. An Argument from Personal Experiences 2. America Super- 
political 3. When Religion builds States 4. Sir John 
Seeley's Teaching 5. America Super-historical 

Chapter III. The Cultural Unity of America ... 25 

1. *< Pioneers, O Pioneers!" 2. A Falsehood that will be 
made True 3. America true to the Law of her own Being 
4. Where the Poor do not look up to the Rich 5. Intui- 
tion versus Instinct and Intellect 6. Where the Educated, 
Leisured, and Revered Class consists of Women 

Chapter IV. The Jews in America 50 

1. Jewish Enthusiasm for America 2. Subsidiary Patriotisms 

3. Two Voices in the Old Testament 4. Jews must declare 
their Attitude 5. Mr. Zangwill not Explicit Enough 6. An 
Injury wrought by One of the Voices in the Old Testament 

Chapter V. Roman Catholics, Marxian Socialists, and 

Some Others 67 

L The Importation of Spiritual Wares 2. Individualistic 
Humanitarianism 3. "Five per Cent Bonds of Peace" 

4. The Anti-nationalism of the Church of Rome 5. The 
Danger of Anti-patriotic Socialism 

■ • 


• •• 



Chapter VI. How to conserve America's Spiritual Re- 
sources 85 

1. America not merely a Unit of Material Wealth 2. America 
the Liying Church of All Americans 3. The Denomina- 
tions as Parties in the Nation-Church 4. A National Com- 
mittee Needed 5. The God of Personal Salvation 

Chapter VII. Only One New Centre of Public Worship in 

Each State 106 

1. As an Object Lesson and Laboratory 2. Institutes for 
Religious Research 3. Argument rendered Superfluous 
4. Creeds the Last Documents to be Revised 5. The Lib- 
erty of Intellectual Interpretation 6. The Contents of 
Things Said and Sung 

Chapter VIII. The Nation, the State, and the Churches 120 

\ 1. A Voluntary National Church 2. A State Church un-Ameri- 
can 3. Religious Parties versus Sects 4. Sectarianism 

Chapter I a. The Sociological Function of the Churches 135 

1. Religiotn^ot merely a Private Concern 2. Professor William 
James's Error 3. The Quickening Influence of the Churches 
4. The Syfclf-made Man in Religion 5. **OmHe Vimim ex Vivo " 
6. Thd^Social Genesis of Conversion 7. Spiritual Environ- 
ment deliberately Prepared 8. The Power that Saves 



Chapter X. Christianity minus Miracle .... 157 

1. No Guidance from the Dead 2. Help from the Historical 
Christ 3. The Communion of Saints 4. Against Demon- 
ism 5. Against Monistic Spiritism 6. A Presupposition 
of All Moral Judgments 7. No Mediumship 8. Naturalism 
9. Man a Spirit 



Chapter XI. Thb Humanistic Meaning of Theological 

Language 171 

1. The Rethinking of the Old Realities 2. Theological Terms 
Indispensable 3. Religion and Theology 4. The Word 
«« Theology" 5. The Word "Theism" 6. The Word 
Atheist " 7. The Word " Religion " 8. The Word " God " 


Chapter XII. Humanistic Meanings {continutd) . . . . 195 

1. The God of the Bible 2. The Personality of God 3. "Wor- 
ship," "Prayer," "Church" 4. "Repentance," "Saint," 
"Holiness" 5. The Word "Christ" 6. Matthew Arnold's 
Insight into Christian Meanings 7. The. Words "Sin "and 
"DevU" 8. The Word"HeU" 9. " Redemption," " Salva- 
tion," " Eternal," " Infinite " 

Chapter XIII. Prayer to the God in Man .... 219 

1. The Efficacy of Petition 2. Human Beings who answer 
Prayers to God 3. Outward Expressions of Prayer 
4. Prayer to the Absent 5. Prayers that are Overheard 

6. Prayers to Historic Personages 7. Prayers to Jesus 
8. Prayers to Spiritual Tendencies and Ideas 9. Prayer 
not merely Communion 10. Prayer not merely Mental 
11. Public Prayer 12. The Emotional Elevation of Prayer 
13. Statements of Fact in Prayer 14. A Mystic Union 
with God 15. The Value of Ethical Declarations 

Chapter XIV. Christianity plus Science 247 

1. New Grounds for Millennial Hope 2. The History of the 
Millennial Hope 3. The False Basis of the Old Hope 

4. A Heaven Material as well as Spiritual 5. The Sanity 
and Purity of the New Hope 6. Children bom Unbiassed 

7. Science, Wealth, and Religion 8. How Long ? 9. The 
Religion of Eugenics 

Chapter XV. Social Democracy and Religion . . 267 

1. Church Services to express the Democratic Faith 2. Sir 
Henry Maine's Error about Democracy 3. The Dynamics 
of Democracy 4. The Inside of the Democratic Cup 

5. The Religious Individualism of Professed Socialists 

6. Isolation Fatal to Churches 7. Not Toleration but Co- 
operation in Religion 8. Debate to be an Item in Public 
Worship 9. The Social Psychology of Religion 10. A 
Religion teaching Self-respect 





Chaptke XVI. The Need of a New Manual op National 

Worship 291 

1. For the Storage and Transmission of National Idealism 
2. Services as compared with Sermons 3. Christian 
Science an Instance 4. Preaching alone Inadequate 
5. Ethics and Ceremonial 6. The Revision of Church 
Services 7. Science unifies Men 8. Outside the Churches 
9. The Warring Sects 10. The East 

Chapter XVII. The Growth of Liturgies . , . . 316 

1. By Effort 2. Emerson on Adaptation 3. The Right to 
adapt Creeds and Hymns 4. An Anglican's Plea for Re- 
vision 5. Lord Morley's Plea 6. Ancient Forms were 
New once 7. The Poets Called 8. The Humanists in 

Chapter XVIII. Prejudices against Religious Forms . . 336 

1. Familiar Acquaintance Needed 2. The Effect on the Be- 
liever 3. The Value of the Thing Symbolized 4. Minor 

Chapter XIX. The Psychology of Public Worship . 344 

1. Historical 2. Analytical 3. The Symbolism of Dress 
4. Not Supematuralistic 5. The Ethical Meaning of Rit- 
ual 6. The Difference between Ritual and Acting 7. Rit- 
ual and Real Life 8. Social Democratic Ritual 9. Ritual 
and the Fine Arts 

Chapter XX. Democratic Forms of Public Worship . 372 

1. Symbolism 2. Through the Senses 3. Ethical Ceremony 
4. Good Deeds and Public Worship 5. A Spiritual 

The author acknowledges his indebtedness to Messrs. 
Williams and Norgate, of London, for permission to in- 
corporate in Parts II and III of this volume the substance 
of several chapters of his book entitled '' National Idealism 
and a State Church," published by them in 1907. 






I. Moulding the Puhire 

Our age has produced many religious Forecasts and 
Outlooks ; but, so far as I am aware, no Prospectuses have 
been issued. Outlooks and forecasts are the work of 
spectators who stand aloof and watch the trend of forces, 
without pretending or wishing to guide them or to increase 
or diminish their momentum. They are ¥nritten from the 
point of view that the future of religion is nothing which 
the observer can be responsible for. The ¥niters are simply 
reporters of what would take place even if they were not 
to note and record. But this book is of a different 
nature; its attitude towards the future of America — 
especially of its religion — is somewhat like that of the 
preliminary advertisement of a business proposition. Ex- 
cept that it is on a spiritual and not a material plane, 
it is analogous to the prospectus of a manufacturing or 
mining or railway enterprise. In this respect, it is not unlike 
General Booth's book entitled ''In Darkest England, and the 
Way Out," which was published because its author wished 
to raise a million dollars for his great plan of Social Re- 
form. Mine, similarly, is an attempt to induce men and 
women to invest their time, money, and mental and physi- 
cal energy in the scheme which it outlines. I therefore 



stand to the future which I depict, as the first dreamer, 
let us say, of a canal across the Isthmus of Panama stood 
to the fact which is now on the eve of complete actualiza- 
tion. A prospectus attempts to bring into existence the 
idea it presents. 

2. The Word Spiritual 

This book submits to the public a scheme for conserving 
and developing the Spiritual Resources of America. The 
specific nature of the scheme will be disclosed later; but 
at the outset a word may be in place as to what I mean by 
Spiritual Resources. The very context in which the word 
spiritual appears shows that it does not point, as it some- 
times does in general literature, to some spirit-world out- 
side of time and space or beyond death. Nor does it 
point to any occult or transcendent faculties of the human 
mind or to the influx of the infinite spirit of the Creator 
into the sphere of mortal mind. The word spiritual here 
refers, as it does in the language of religious piety, to a 
kind of life. We divide our world into that of the senses 
and of the soul; and we say that a man is spiritually 
minded when to him principles of justice, honour, purity, 
and the like, and visions of a perfect society are as real 
and present as are the groimd he walks on, the bread 
he eats, or the water he drinks. We say of a woman 
that she is spiritually minded if, when the practical alter- 
native }^ presented to her of loyalty to her own ideal of 
womanhood on the one hand, and on the other the sacrifice 
of this to luxury, display, and physical comfort, she without 
an instant's hesitation finds herself siding with her own 
inward standards of honour. The suggestion that she should 
disregard these is to her as if it were proposed that she should 
walk straight through a granite wall. It is the sense of the 
reality of the unseen xmiverse of principles and ideals that 
constitutes spirituality. 


The proposition, then, how to conserve and develop 
the spiritual resources of America is the proposition how to 
conserve and develop the sense of the reality, the potency, 
the pressure and power of those principles and ideals which 
have emerged in the history of the American people as 
manifestations of its essential and xmique moral genius. 
It is a question as to what is the American type of man- 
hood and womanhood. It is further the question as to 
what is the high calling or inherently pre^tablished 
destiny to which the imprecedented origin, geographical 
location, and opportunity, and the unforeseen and unfore- 
seeable events in the nation's career have been calling her 

The spiritual resources of America thus imderstood are 
clearly seen to be not unrelated to her commercial, political, 
and domestic life. On the contrary, the motive of this 
book springs from the conviction, which I believe many 
readers will share with me, that the ultimate dynamic of 
all thorough reform in domestic life, in economics and 
politics is to be f oimd in the sense of the reality and urgency 
with which moral principles and social ideals are invested. 
Even the conservation of the material resources of America 
requires the development of its spiritual energy and insight. 

This prospectus for the development of the Soul of 
America arises out of the belief that her moral potencies 
are at present running enormously to waste or lying 
idle, and are therefore practically as if they ^ere in 
great part non-existent. My propositions assume that 
it would be possible to develop almost infinitely the spiritual 
potencies of the nation by organizing them and lifting 
them into self-consciousness, and that when so developed 
they would be able to sweep away rapidly and forever 
national defects and wrongs and causes of suffering and 
disease which now alarm every true statesman and patriot. 

I began by referring to religion, because the spiritual 


resources of the world have always been the concern of 
organized religion. It has always been religion which has 
given spiritual sanctions — the sense of the reality of an 
unseen order — to the practical conduct of a people and 
its customs and laws concerning property, life, the family, 
politics, truth, and religion itself. 

3. Statesmanship in Religion 

When we look at the place which intelligent foresight 
and statesmanship have taken in the history of religion, it 
becomes the more astonishing that in our day writers should 
occupy themselves with outlooks and forecasts instead of 
prospectuses. This peculiarity of present-day writers on 
religion would seem to argue some sort of degeneracy 
or blindness or some aberration as to the real character 
and significance and purpose of religion ; for in its periods 
of creative and beneficent activity religion has been fiill 
of the plans of patriots and statesmen. Possibly the great- 
ness of the past has overpowered us so that we can no longer 
originate, but only imitate and repeat. We must imitate 
and not repeat ; that is, we must imitate the originality 
and constructive statesmanship of the great religious 
geniuses of the past. Primarily we must remember that 
religions start with ideas which gradually become facts. It 
was an idea in the mind of Jesus — an idea of the nature 
of a prospectus or scheme of salvation — from which ema- 
nated the Christian churches. But the scheme of Jesus 
was supplemented by another of St. Paul and his con- 
temporaries. There was constructive enterprise of states- 
manship at work to conserve and develop the spiritual 
resources of society. The great religious geniuses never 
assumed the rdle of spectators, nor did they practise an 
aloofness, as if the religious drama of the world would im- 
roll of itself before Uiem. They were not spectators, 


but the actors in the drama. They felt that, with them- 
selves left out, the issue of the plot would fail to manifest 
its inherent meaning. 

If we look beyond Christianity to ancient Judaism, we 
note the same conspicuous office performed by the enter- 
prises of statesmanship and the entire absence of any rdle 
assigned to mere onlookers ; nor was there any thought of 
an evolution of religion as a thing imcaused by human 
effort and design. For instance, religious patriots and 
politicians first threw out the idea that the Jewish nation 
was weakened and decentralized in character by the scat- 
tered "high places " of worship over the land ; and then they 
agitated for the abolition of remote altars and the concen- 
tration upon Moimt Zion in Jerusalem as the one point of 
national worship. Coming forward again in history, we 
are startled by the fact that the Roman Catholic Church, 
which declares itself not only to be heaven-bom, but con- 
tinuoxisly inspired from on high, is the world's chief instance 
of men's intelligent foresight in mapping out the kind of 
future they wish to see created and constraining the forces 
of human nature to actualize their scheme. Even the 
present policy of the Roman Church in centralizing itself 
in the Vatican and in this way unifying the Roman Catholic 
world is but a repetition on a larger scale of the prospectus 
of Jewish politicians in the eighth, seventh, and sixth cen- 
turies before Christ. 

Not to prolong to too great length my historical argu- 
ment, I would cite only two more instances of the place of 
prospective enterprise in religion. Richard Hooker, at 
the close of the sixteenth century, in his "Ecclesiastical 
Polity," marked out a scheme which has had structural 
effect upon the religious organization of England, and which 
seems destined to have still more decisive influence. My 
last instance is American. It was the practical organizing 
statesmanship of John Wesley that caused him, as soon 


as the United States were established, to assume the rdle 
of bishop and, by sending out preachers, transplant to 
American soil his whole system of religious discipline. 
Thus he brought into being, and did not simply foresee or 
forecast, the present-day fact that the MethocUst denomina- 
tions of America possess a greater membership than any 
other one group of Protestant churches. 

If I mistake not, there have again appeared in America 
during the last five years evidences of a recognition of the 
significance of practical statesmanship in conserving and 
developing the spiritual resources of the nation as distinct 
from faith in supernatural providence. I am therefore 
the bolder in laying stress upon the enterprise-launching 
nature of this book ; but I have another reason for doing 
so. The clue to its literary style and structure can only 
be foimd in the fact that it is a prospectus, and that I am, 
as it were, trying to float a practical imdertaking. Only 
this object and the peculiar character of the enterprise can 
explain the composition of the book. They alone will 
justify both what I have included and what I have excluded. 
Another person writing on the Soul of America, or I myself 
¥niting from a different point of view, would have presented 
many facts here omitted and shown even those here pre- 
sented in quite different relations and with different values. 
For instance, my giving a great part of the space of this 
voliune to a humanistic reinterpretation of Christianity 
and to the psychology of public worship is wholly justified, 
if I am right in thinking that the churches in the future 
are to be the chief instrumentalities for the conserving and 
developing of America's spiritual resources, and if religious 
rites and ceremonies must be the chief means for bringing 
home to the citizens of America the reality of the ideal 
order of her life. 



I. An Argument from Personal Experiences 

There was a time when the champion of any fundamental 
idea anxiously attempted to demonstrate to his readers that 
his philosophy was in no wise coloured by his own private 
experience. He tried to show that it was purely objective, 
and might have originated in the mind of any one ; but, 
happily, in our day we have come to see that even pro- 
found and universal truths are never discovered and brought 
to self-conscious definition, except by some rare opportimity, 
and even because of some peculiar emotional experience 
and bent of the individual's will. No philosophy is now 
counted worthy of attention that was not, in the first in- 
stance, an outgrowth of some one person's peculiar indi- 
viduality and experience; and no thinker is fully trusted 
who is not perfectly aware of the subjective and incidental 
occasion that disclosed to him the imiversal truth which 
he is advocating. 

Accordingly, before proceeding to impersonal groimds to 
justify the main thesis of these pages, I wish to offer as 
an argument in favour of it those experiences of my 
own which first thrust it into the foreground of my 
attention and so diffused it over my mind that it has now 
become the formative principle of all my thought on 
social problems. 

Until my twenty-third year, it had never occurred to me 
that such a person as myself, with such a point of view 
concerning life and its meaning, with such presupposi- 



tions, spontaneous reactions and recoils, and with such a 
scale of values and standards of judgment, might not have 
been bom and reared at any time, in any place on the face 
of the globe, or even on the planet Mars. So self-evident 
had I been to myself that it seemed to me as if an infinite 
Creator might have projected me, full-grown, into space 
and time at any point, and that I should have felt myself 
at home anywhere, irrespective of antecedent courses of 
local and temporal events. My notions of self-respect 
and duty, of liberty and temperance, manliness and woman- 
liness seemed to me to be such as must appear immediately 
right and rational to any intelligent will, hiunan or angelic, 
finite or infinite. 

At the age of twenty-two, however, leaving for the first 
time my own national milieUy I went as a student to Ger- 
many. Only then did I gradually become aware that the 
most impersonal and imiversal characteristics of my inner 
selfhood could never have been brought into existence except 
in the United States of America — in the Middle West — 
and at the exact point in her history when I was bom and 
had lived there. Then for the first time I saw that almost 
everything in morals, religion, and even manners, that had 
seemed to me to go without saying, needed argument and 
justification beyond itself before it could appeal to any 
German. I thus became aware that every native student 
in the University of Berlin differed from me in all the 
spontaneous reactions of his nature against the occasions 
that call for judgment and decision, by as much as the whole 
history of Germany for three himdred years has differed 
from the entire tradition and experience of America from 
the time of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers imtil the 
year in which I was bom — the year before that in which 
Abraham Lincoln had awakened America by saying of it 
that a house divided against itself could not stand, and that 
the United States must become either all free or all slave. 


It was revealed to me that America, despite her origmal 
descent from England and her continued intercourse with 
Europe, was a world in herself — a psychic sphere of creative 
energy, enveloping her citizens, but that she herself was 
not in the same way comprehended imder any larger moral 
sphere that overarched her as she spans her own geographi- 
cal sections, her States, coimties, cities, families, and indi- 
vidual men and women. And I became aware that Ger- 
many constituted for her subjects an equally self-contained 
sphere of active psychic influence, and in the same way 
furnished an outer circimiference or surface up to which 
the duties and responsibilities of her subjects extended, but 
beyond which they suddenly decreased almost to the van- 
ishing point. I realized that beyond that point where 
one nation stops and another begins on the surface of the 
earth, the nation and not the individual mind becomes the 
moral agent which is to deal with neighbouring nations. 
I saw the profoimd wisdom of the aphorism of Mazzini, 
that nations are to hiunanity as individual men and women 
are to nations. I saw that reverence for all nations was as 
essential to the idea of imiversal brotherhood as reverence 
for all individual human beings irrespective of race, na- 
tionality, colour, sex, or religion. I saw that the brother- 
hood of noHans was the true meaning of the brotherhood 
of man, and that those were the enemies of men as well as 
of nations who interpreted imiversal brotherhood in the 
sense of the obliteration instead of the sanctification of 
national differences. 

After two years and a half of study in Berlin, my debt 
to Germany had become so great that I have never since 
been able to think of the "Fatherland" without awe, 
reverence, and deep personal gratitude. But I am quite 
certain that what I gathered from the Imperial University 
was totally different from what any German student would 
have drawn. It was the contrast with everything I had 


been accustomed to that gave for me a peculiar significance 
to German philosophy, political economy, art, and social 
customs, and brought out a new meaning in all things 
American. I tingled with awareness of characteristics 
which did not challenge the attention either of stay-at- 
home Germans or Americans. I am convinced, and have 
been ever since my student days in Berlin, that the ratio 
of a man's points of quickening contact with his own nation 
to those of his possible contact with any foreign coimtry 
is at least ten thousand to one. I do not deny the one 
point. I am fully aware that everybody receives into his 
mental and moral composition elements and energy de- 
rived from other nations, nor do I undervalue these fac- 
tors ; but I do say that even when the specific influences 
have originated in foreign coimtries or have had his- 
toric roots abroad, they become so transmuted and re- 
organized by entering the new national atmosphere, as to 
constitute in their psychic effect a totally different environ- 
ment. A person, also, who has never left his native coun- 
try, or at best has travelled abroad only for holiday diver- 
sion and not for work and cooperation, inevitably remains 
blind to the fact that almost all the influences that have 
moulded him have emanated from within the confines of 
his own nation. 

2. America Super-political 

The piupose of this book seems to justify me in giving 
space here for only one instance of the many characteristics 
of America as a nation that were brought home to my mind 
by Germany. I became aware after a half year's sojourn 
in Berlin of the pervading presence, and what seemed 
to me then omnipotence and omniscience, of a spiritual 
reality the like of which I had never felt and never 
could have felt in America. I became aware of the pre- 
sence of what is called the State. In America, if no indi- 


vidual person is watching you for some private reason of 
his own, you are unobserved and have a corresponding sense 
of being alone. In Germany everybody is not only being 
observed, but is being tracked by the State. I realized 
that with a million eyes and with instruments and with 
agencies adequate in power to its purposes, the State was 
above me, below me, in front and behind, and on both sides, 
protecting me from others and others from me. I began 
to perceive the immensity of the difference between a 
Nation and a State, which my professors in Political Science 
had pointed out, but which hitherto I had coimted as 
nothing more than an academic (Ustinction. Some of the 
Political Economists of Germany describe the same thing 
as the difference between Society and the State. I saw that 
what I had known and felt in the land of my birth was a 
Society, a Nation, but scarcely a political organization. 

I gradually began also to realize the beneficence and 
moral necessity of the strong State as a guardian of each 
person and of the community as a whole, and to deplore 
its absence in America. The Will of the People, I saw, 
coiild never become truly coherent and sovereign, could 
never fully express itself and execute its plans ; the working 
people would instead become victims of dominant indi- 
viduals and classes, imless the State stepped in as the agent 
of the Nation and preserved the human claims of all as 
against the aggressions of the few. It was Germany that 
turned my individualistic Democracy into Social Demo- 
cracy. The German State added to my belief in the good 
of o/l, a belief in the good of the whole as being equally the 
end of the State. 

Foreign observers of America still note a prevalent lack 
of the sense of the State throughout America. In a demo- 
cracy preyed upon by plutocratic enemies from within, 
this is an alarming defect, which as such must be brought 
to acute self-consciousness; for the State cannot become 


powerful and wise in the interests of the people — that is, 
it cannot really exist — except as the conscious need of it 
encourages it into existence. Only an enormous increase 
of the power of the State in the interests of the whole com- 
mimity can ever beat back the imblushing and unashamed 
exploitation of the national wealth by the few, to the detri- 
ment of the millions. For instance, there has been no 
greater menace to America than the pretence of promoters 
of industry that when benefiting themselves in bringing 
inunigrants to these shores they are also acting for the 
benefit of the Nation. The public does not seem yet to 
see the difference between the immediate private benefit 
of the controlling classes, or of all, and the permanent 
good of America as a whole ; and it accordingly has been 
ready to sacrifice the total and abiding nation to the rapid 
development of private enterprises in commerce. Other- 
wise there could not have been so imdisguised an appeal 
to individual self-interest in summoning immigrants to 
America. To all the oppressed of Europe America herself 
still says : " Come over here, here is your coimtry. This 
coimtry is your opportimity to get rich, to rise in the world, 
to make much of yourself, to be somebody. Come, bleed 
me." Does America, then, exist for individuals who are 
not equally to exist for America ? Is she merely a means 
and they wholly the ends ? My impression in the course 
of recent journeys across the United States is that there 
are more human beings in America preying upon the re- 
sources of their nation from a motive of imdisguised self- 
interest than is the case with any coimtry in Europe. 
Not only do these American citizens batten upon her 
wealth, but also upon her naive faith in human nature and 
individual liberty ; nor do the poor in America differ in mo- 
tive and intent from the rich. More of America's nurslings, 
of all classes and of whatever origin, feed upon her vitals 
than is the case with any other national brood in the 


world. It cannot be accounted for in any other way than 
negatively, that is, by the absence of the State and the sense 
of the State as an instrument in the service of the People 
as a whole ; there must spring up a political government 
to express and administer the WiU of the whole people 
in the interests, not of all individually, but of the whole as 
an abiding totality, of the nation as an organic unit of life. 
But my student years in Germany did far more for me 
than reveal merely the characteristics, positive and nega- 
tive and good and bad, of America ; the contrast of Ger- 
many with the United States, as I have already said, gave 
me the formative principle of all my thinking since then 
upon social problems. 

3. When Religion builds States 

It required only a few months of sojourn in Germany 
to reveal to me the fact that in our dependence upon con- 
tinuity of environment our minds belong spiritually to the 
plant order of creation. Our characters, our hearts and 
wills grow by means of roots which we put down into the 
soil, or rather the soul, of the nation in which we are born 
and where we pass our. years of infancy and adolescence. 
To transplant a man from one country to another is to 
tear him up by the roots and to remove the most sensitive 
fibres and tendrils of his being from the sources whence 
he has drawn his vitality and the peculiar substance and 
form of his nature. In proportion as a man possesses 
individuality and virility, he suffers exquisite torture by 
expatriation. In the strongest natures, homesickness in 
a foreign land is liable to become not only normally pain- 
ful, but pathologically dangerous. It is exile from home 
that first reveals to oneself not only one's love of home, but 
one's psychic dependence upon it. One's sense of per- 
sonal identity may almost be overborne and obliterated 


by a change of environment from one's native coimtry to 
a land where the speech, the customs, the wit and himiour, 
and the ethical valuations are different. A love of one's 
own country thus awakened will never sink into imcon- 
sciousness again. Of all the spiritual energies of the himian 
mind, the sentiment of patriotism aroused by exile is the 
deepest and most powerful. In depth and potency it is the 
one spiritual momentimi which can be classed with the 
primal instincts and appetites, such as those of hunger, 
thirst, the reproductive instinct, curiosity, anger, imitation, 
and the love of self -display. Women are equally responsive 
with men to the sentiment of patriotism ; but the careers 
open to men have made it chiefly a masculine characteristic. 
The craving to return to one's native environment and 
the conscious sense of dependence upon it, when once 
awakened, constitute not only the most powerful of spiritual 
motives, but also the most cohesive of social forces. It 
would therefore seem that if somehow the religion of the 
churches could in each country identify itself with the 
conscious sense of dependence upon one's nation as the 
source of one's spiritual life, Christianity and the churches 
would enter upon a new period of beneficent activity, un- 
precedented in the world since the first two centuries after 
Christ — a period of masculinity and virility as well as 
of a new tenderness and respect for the poor, for women, 
and for all the imfortunate. It would seem that if the 
churches could link up their aim with that of patriotism, 
religion would become again the greatest State-building 
power in the world. It would reorganize and reconstruct 
cities and institutions of commerce and education and the 
laws of marriage and of the ownership of land and capital. 
Such is the belief in the religious significance and power of 
awakened patriotism which was engendered in me by the con- 
trast of Germany with America. My experience of the differ- 
ence in these two nationalities prepared my mind to accept as 


the most significant lesson of universal history the identity 
of religion in all its great epochs with the higher patriotism. 

I saw for the first time why religion among the andent 
Jews was such a dominant national asset ; I saw how it was 
that Judaism — his religion — made the Jew and gave him 
such vitality that 2000 years of foreign oppression and 
inhumanity has not been able to extinguish him or his 
national idealism. It was all because with the ancient 
Jews religion was patriotism and patriotism was religion. 
The God the Jews worshipped was the socializing spirit 
of the tribe and nation ; Jahweh was the indwelling moral 
genius of the Jewish people. He was the creative soul of 
Israel. The moral genius of this people had brought the 
Jews out of the house of bondage and out of the land of 
Egypt, had preserved them in the desert, and had kept the 
remnant of the righteous together during the seventy years 
of the exile in Babylon. It was the consciously awakened 
loyalty of the Jews to the indwelling spirit of their nation 
that constituted their religion while in Babylon and brought 
them back to their own coimtry and induced them to es- 
tablish a theocracy when they were denied an independent 
political state. The throne of their God, as one of their 
psalmists says, was in the praises of his people. 

Nobody denies that national idealism was the religion of 
Judaism ; but many who concede this historic fact are ac- 
customed to assert that with the advent of Christianity 
religion became distinct from patriotism, and that this 
separation was a moral and spiritual advance. But the 
new psychology and sociology of religion are throwing a flood 
of hght upon historic Christianity and showing an un- 
expected identity of it with patriotism. This identity 
for the first thousand years explains the organizing and 
virile power of Christianity. Had it not become the in- 
dwelling, socializing, moralizing spirit of a great nation, 
Christianity would not have survived and would not have 


deserved to survive. What happened was this: the 
Roman Empire was in need of a soul, it was the body 
without the spirit of a nation. It had only military 
unity. All the conquered peoples paid tribute unto Caesar ; 
but there was no cultural unity, and the Roman Empire 
would soon have become a disintegrating corpse. Even 
the emperors and courtiers saw this. Constantine and 
his advisers appreciated the strategic significance of the 
little groupsof Christians worshipping underground through- 
out the Empire. They must be made the Soul of the nation. 
And this was what happened : They conserved and devel- 
oped the spiritual resources of the Roman Empire. They 
gave it a conunon ideal of manhood and of life — the ideal 
found in the New Testament together with the standard of 
national loyalty presented in the Old. Thus Europe be- 
came spiritually unified. In Christianity, then, religion 
did not cease to be identical with national idealism; on 
the contrary, it assiuned the task of creating a nation — of 
breathing into it the breath of life. That is the reason 
Christianity lived and deserved to live. Paul ceased to 
be a Jew, but he became a Roman citizen ; the moral genius 
which he now worshipped as God was indeed no longer that 
of Israel, but it was that of Rome. 

In like manner, Protestant interpreters have for the 
most part been quite blind to the true significance of the 
Reformation. The Reformation was not an assertion of 
private conscience and of the individual's right to think 
for himself, but the assertion of Germany's will to become 
an organic unit of spiritual life and free itself from the 
dictation of a foreign bishop. Luther is at the same time 
the genius of the Reformation and the genius of the spiritual 
resources of Germany ; yet not because he was a genius in 
two directions, but because the Reformation was the awaken- 
ing of Germany to spiritual self-consciousness. 

Analogous was what happened in Scotland and in Eng- 


land ; but I cannot here prolong the story. It is clear that 
religion whenever it has been creative and beneficent has 
been identical with patriotism. God has always been the 
indwelling moral genius of a people, the Holy Ghost has 
always been the socializing power that qui^ens indivi- 
dual men and women into glad self-sacrifice and service 
for the good of the whole group to which they belong. 

4. Sir John Sedey^s Teaching 

But the interpretation of history which I have just given 
was by no means a discovery of my own. The awakening 
to self-consdousness of my own patriotism through the 
contrasts which I saw between Germany and America only 
prepared my mind and made it receptive and enthusiasti- 
cally sensitive to this doctrine of the identity of true re- 
ligion with the higher patriotism which I found expressed 
in masterly fashion by Sir John Seeley in his book on 
"Natural Religion," which was first published in 1883. 
Sir John Seeley is, in the judgment of many, the most origi- 
nal genius both in the sphere of reUgious insight and of 
historic imagination which England produced in the nine- 
teenth century. He more than anyone else was able (in 
his book entitled "Ecce Homo") to present the himian 
aspect and the human and natural significance of the per- 
sonality of Jesus Christ. He also, so far as I am aware, 
was the first to point out the nationalizing genius of Chris- 
tianity through the Roman Catholic Church and the iden- 
tity of Protestantism in its several branches with the awaken- 
ing self-consdousness of the nations of the North. 

It was such passages as the following that illuminated 
and justified to me my personal sense of the exalted sig- 
nificance of patriotism : — 

Look almost where you will in the wide field of history, you 
will find Religion, whenever it works freely and mightily, eidier 


giving birth to and sustaining States, or else raising them up to 
a second life after destruction. It is a great State-builder in the 
hands of Moses and Ulfilas and Gregory and Nicholas ; in the 
ruder hands of Mohammed and many another tamer and guide 
of gross populations, down to the prophet of Utah, it has the 
same character ; the same, too, in the hands of the almost for- 
gotten Numas and propagators of the Apollo-worship who laid 
the foundation of Roman and Greek civilization, and of the 
Pilgrim Fathers who founded New England. In the East to 
this day nationality and religion are almost convertible terms ; 
the Scotch national character first awoke in the adoption of a 
new Religion, and afterwards expressed itself more than once 
in national covenants ; the Reformation itself may be repre- 
sented as coming out of the German national consciousness, 
and it has been proposed to call the various forms of Protestant- 
ism by the collective name of Teutonic Christianity. Lastly, 
in Christianity itself, in Romanism, and partly also in Mo- 
hammedanism we find religion in the form of an aggressive or 
missionary nationality, bringing foreign nations into a new 

All this being overlooked, the very outlines of European 
developments almost disappear from our view. In losing sight 
of the connection between Religion and Nationality, we lose the 
due to the struggle between Church and State, which is the 
capital fact in the development of Europe. As in the first part 
of the struggle we overlook that the Church is but another 
aspect of the Empire, and Catholicism but the embodiment of 
the Roman nationality, so in the later stages of it, in the modem 
struggle between Catholicism and that which calls itself the 
State, we are blind to the fact that imder the so-called State 
there lurks a new, yet imdeveloped. Church. 

On account of my own individual experience, the pas- 
sages in Sir John Seeley's book which have most endeared 
his moral insight to me are those in which he points out the 
awakening and deepening effect upon patriotism of exile from, 
one's native land. He made me realize that whatever 
special sensitiveness it was on my part which had converted 



my patriotism into a religion was no eccentricity nor abnor- 
mality of mine; for a similar experience in thousands of 
hearts in all ages has proved of untold significance and 
beneficence to the world. 

A civilization [says Sir John Seeley] which to those who 
live in the midst of it is imperceptible as an atmosphere, be- 
comes distinctly visible in contrast with the outer world. 

Greeks felt their Hellenism in contrast with barbarism and 
Jews their election in contrast with Gentiles. When the con- 
trast becomes intense a condition of imstable equilibrium is 
created . . . and one of those great spiritual movements takes 
place which mark at long intervals the progress of humanity, 
such as the conversion of all nations to Judaism, to Romanism, 
to Hellenism. 

It would even seem that Seeley had not failed to observe 
cases of American patriotism like mine ; for he says : — 

Not otherwise at this day the American who finds himself 
in Europe translates of sheer necessity his American ways of 
thinking into a creed. He can think and talk of nothing else. 
To every European he preaches, like St. Paul, in season and out 
of season, America, America ! 

I hope I may not seem to be falling into too personal a 
vein instead of keeping to my argument when I cite the 
present volume as perhaps the latest instance of an Ameri- 
can in Europe preaching America. Nor can I deny that 
my case is still more aggravated than those referred to by 
Seeley, for I am here presuming to preach America, America, 
not to Europeans, but to Americans themselves. I would, 
however, plead excuse and justification on the ground of 
the exile which my specialized work has imposed upon me ; 
and if I need further justification, I would hide behind that 
fine aphorism of Mr. Rudyard Kipling with which he 
shielded himself against the adverse judgment of those who 
thought that he, having sojourned in remote India, should 


not presume to criticise or instruct England. In retort 
he exclaims : — 

What should they know of England, who^ only] England 

5. America Super-historical 

But I have not finished the argmnent from personal 
experience with which I said I wished to introduce the 
thesis of this book. After student days in Germany and a 
brief return to America, my special task called me to Eng- 
land, and there I settled ; and I have lived and worked there 
since the year 1888. From the first I delighted in those 
qualities of English life — mellow as her summer sunshine 
— which always enchant and often permanently enchain 
visitors from the New World. But here I wish only to give 
my testimony as to the increasing consciousness which my 
knowledge of England brought about as to the deeper 
meaning of America in particular and of National Idealism 
the world over as the redemptive trend in history. In 
England, I again found myself in a new world, a world as 
different from both Germany and America as I had found 
these two unlike each other. England, in my judgment, is 
spiritually a different sphere from America, as much as 
Mars is physically different from the Earth. All the 
planets, no doubt, have the same chemical nature and mani- 
fest the same laws of physics, and all of them are in the same 
solar system ; but life in Mars, if there be any, and the 
forms engendered there by natural selection, must be as 
different from those of Earth as is her place in the solar 
system. Both Englishmen and Americans, let us grant, 
participate in the same primal instincts and psychic con- 
stitutions; but the men and women in England who are 
surrounded by a social atmosphere more than a thousand 
years deep, through which the whole of the Past presses 
upon them, inevitably find the American, with his short 


national tradition and memory, almost a human curiosity ; 
and vice versa. As with my impression of Germany, so 
of England ; my argimients here permit me to specify only 
one characteristic of America as distinct from England, 
and it is again a negative quality. The absence of the 
sense of the Past, and the absence of the pressure of it 
upon the American imagination and will, are unique in 
the life of the great modem nations, just as is the absence 
from the American mind of the sense of the State and of 
the pressure of the State as a living reality. This 
sense in a nation of escape from the Fastis a negative 
quality of the highest significance for the whole future of 
America. It is a form of liberty, I believe, which to the end 
of all time will mark her ; having once got into her blood, 
it will propagate itself like an antitoxin. The conscious- 
ness of being free from the Past and therefore of relative 
contempt for the Past is one of the chief elements in the 
American sense of liberty. The absence of the Past and 
of a sense of it, will make America forever predisposed 
to imdertake enterprises which have no precedent in the 
world's history. America, from a motive of utilitarian 
idealism, will always be ready in the spirit of Nietzsche's 
philosophy to become superhistorical. I could dte 
many instances of conununities in America which have 
quite readily, and without any misgiving or apprehension, 
passed laws of a wholly untried and imprecedented nature, 
laws which the British would have felt that their very 
sanity — meaning their historic sense — forbade them to 
pass. Here, then, we find, although of a negative nature, 
a characteristic common to all Americans : the lack of the 
historic sense and the absence of the pressure of history. 
This negative characteristic of American life begins im- 
mediately to have eflFect upon the heart of every immigrant 
or casual visitor, making it light, and upon the will, making 
it brave. Thus is every American differentiated from the 


stay-at-home subjects of every other government m the 

I count typical of all America, and therefore an allegpry 
or parable, an answer to a question of mine which was made 
many years ago by a youth in one of my boys' clubs in New 
York City. He had made some remark which seemed to 
reveal so superJBidal a sense Of history that I asked him : 
"But how old do you suppose the world is?" With sur- 
prise and some bewilderment he answered with the return 
question: "Wasn't the world created in 1776?" No 
youth ever spoke more wisely ! The world in which he 
lived, the world of the United States, the Soul which brooded 
over him, the Soul of America, was, as an ordered cosmos, 
as a spiritual providence, created in 1776. 

If we contrast the great historic fact of the identity of 
patriotism and religion with the present state of things in 
America, we cannot help being startled by what seems to be 
an absolute divorce between religion in America and Ameri- 
can patriotism. In America religion is one thing; and 
patriotism, where it exists, is altogether another and a 
different thing. They are not even two things that inter- 
penetrate or move in the same direction or advance to the 
same end. There probably never was a country in the 
world that lived so long and that prospered so well where 
there was so little identification, conscious or unconscious, 
of religion with patriotism. But its history thus far has 
been wholly unique ; and now the imique conditions are at 
an end. Its divorce, therefore, of religion from patriotism 
is no proof that either Christianity or American patriotism 
or even the material conditions of the United States will 
go on prospering if the divorce continues. It is p>ossible 
that, from now on, the one national asset that will save 
America from internal disruption and from moral decay 
will be the making of religion henceforth identical with the 
nation's sense of high destiny and sublime responsibility. 



I. PioneerSy O Pioneers! 

Some recent students of life in the United States have 
declared that America is lacking in any central vitalizing 
power that gives unity of culture, community of vision and 
aim, and harmony of values to all her citizens. For in- 
stance, Mr. A. E. Zinunem, until recently a Don of Oxford, 
in a brilliant paper entitled, "Seven Months in America," 
which appeared in the Sociological Review for July, 191 2, 
says: "Another conmion p)olitical fallacy needs to be 
mentioned. Current ideas . . . assume that America is 
a nation. . . . America consists at present of a congeries 
of nations who happened to be imited under a common 
federal government." He adds, "No, America is not a 
melting pot. ... To meet image with image, I would 
reply, 'America is not a melting pot ; it is a varnishing pot,' 
or, in the words of Freiherr von Wolzogen, 'America is a 
sausage machine, for grinding out Equality sausages.' . . . 
' There is all the difference in the world,' said a yoimg Jewish 
philosopher to me, 'between an American Jew and a Jewish 
American. A Jewish American is a mere amateur Gentile, 
doomed to be a parasite forever.'," 

Where is the truth in this matter ? Has it been an il- 
lusion of self-conceit and vanity on the part of America to 
believe that the very spirit embodied in the Constitution 
and history of the United States penetrates through a 
thousand different avenues into the centre of the soul of 
every child bom here and of every immigrant that is landed 



here, and that it then, from the throne of each person's 
Selfhood, begins to construct his character in accordance 
with the organic law of the nation's being? 

Mr. Zimmem's denial that America gives cultural unity 
to her people can in the first place be refuted out of his own 
mouth. In the very same essay, of which the object is to 
deny that America is a nation, occurs the following lavish 
delineation of that disposition of will, that quality of heart, 
that type of intellect which, according to Mr. Zimmem's 
own confession, marks not only the successive generations, 
but all the geographical groups of the United States : — 

/ Every one knows what the American pioneer qualities are ; 
most Europeans admire or even envy them, as the middle-aged 
envy the yoimg, while laughing a little up their sleeve. Yet it 
is worth while trying to define them, indefinable though they 
are. An inexhaustible fountain of kindness and good nature, 
which makes a journey in America seem like a passage from 
friend to friend; a wonderful alertness and adaptability, 
through which the hostess grasps the situation, the financier 
doses with a bargain, the citizen takes the law into his own 
hands, in as brief a moment as it took their ancestors to sight 
and shoot the Red Indian who was climbing the stockade ; an 
undaimted self-confidence, which will plant a dty in a treeless 
wilderness, as the Mormons did in Utah, or descry a business 
prospect when the Easterner can see only a castle in Spain ; a 
ferodous optimism which seems to welcome difficulty and dis- 
aster, bankruptcy and earthquake, for the fierce joy of over- 
coming them; an ingenuous delight in novelty for the mere 
sake of experiment, which replaces the philosophic " Why ? " of 
Europe by the imanswerable ** Why not ! " a nonchalant venture- 
someness which gambles with life and fortune as gaily as the 
reprobates among ourselves would risk a handful of money on a 
racecourse; a strength of purpose and a vigorous tenadty in 
action imexampled in any one people, even the Scotch, but 
explicable as the result of three generations of social selection 
from among the stronger wills of Europe ; a complete absence of 
self-consdousness or reflectiveness or any kind of deeper in- 


sight, and an inclination^ developed by their education into a 
habity towards using the mind as a quick-firing gim; all the 
qualities of childhood except reverence, with a continent for a 
nursery, its easy emotions and rapid tempers, its lively curiosity, 
its sunny expansiveness, its irresistible buoyancy, its short and 
fickle memory, its disobedience, its ruthlessness, its almost 
tragic capacity for laughter in the face of grave issues, its in- 
satiable appetite for sweetness and light, in the shape of con- 
fectionery and electric sky signs ; above all, and a redemption 
of all, its intense and aboimding and infectious vitality, its in- 
stinctive loyalty and comradeship in action, its idealism in the 
darkest hours, shedding immortal lustre on some disaster which 
its own imwisdom has failed to avert, when in a moment, as 
imder Lee and Lincoln, at the bidding of destiny the scattered 
band of * boys ' becomes an army of men — this, this is the Ameri- 
can spirit; and Walt Whitman is its prophet. Pioneers , O 
Pioneers, is the song of successive generations of yoimg Ameri- 
cans, novitiates into the Dionysiac spirit of transatlantic life. 

The only possible explanation which I can find for Mr. 
Zimmem's self-contradiction in describing the character 
of America, and yet denying to her a dominant unify- 
ing influence, is that if a nation's genius is of the pioneer 
sort, he thinks it must be only a passing phase of mental 
life and not enduring enough to be a nation-building power. 
He seems to imply that the moment pioneer opportunities 
of material exploration have ceased, it is preposterous to 
suppose that tJie qualities of the pioneer may continue to 
dominate. But here, in my judgment, the sociology of this 
student of America is defective in three vital points. Some \ 
unique circumstance in a nation's career, although itself \ 
not lasting for more than two or three lifetimes, may I 
generate a temper, a vision, a standard of values, that will 
live on and mould the people for centuries to come. Even 
Mr. Zimmem opens his essay with the affirmation that, 
although she is not a nation, America is '^a state of mind." 
Now, my contention is that . the state of mind which is 


America is a permanent creative spirit, giving unity of 
vision, a sympathetic understanding, and comradeship of 
will to all the dwellers on American soil. It was generated 
imder conditions unique in the history of mankind ; those 
conditions are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. But 
that spirit which they engendered is mightier throughout 
the United States to-day than ever before. Not only 
this; it is spreading throughout the world. Japanese 
scholars caught it in American colleges and took it back 
to Japan. Sun Yat Sen and his fellow-students carried 
it to China. And we know what it has already achieved 
in both these countries. This Dionysiac spirit, begotten 
into immortality by the pioneer life in America, sets 
quickly on fire the proletariats of all the nations of the 
world. For three generations it has drawn something like a 
million persons a year to the American shores. Now it is 
taking root in foreign soils and is engendering revolutions 
there — like the recent one in China. Let us, then, concede 
that primitive pioneer conditions have ended. But let us 
not be blind to the gigantic fact that before they ended, 
they let loose a Spirit which bids fair to become ever- 
lasting and imiversal. It is probable that from now on 
throughout the world for all time the dominant disposition 
of Humanity will not cease to be that of the Pioneer Spirit. 
The second error which I think must lurk at the root of 
Mr. Zimmem's self-contradiction is that pioneering work 
is over when once the primeval forests have been owned 
and cut down. The facts of American history justify as 
against such a view the belief that the moment the pio- 
neering spirit has nothing more to achieve on the pxirely 
physical plane of material wealth, it immediately rises to 
the mental, moral, and spiritual plane: There it discovers 
one new vision after another that needs actualizing and one 
old world after another that requires to be annihilated in 
order that there may be room for the new ideal. The real 


and the highest pioneer work has only begun in America. 
Note the recent transformations of the Constitutions of 
the United States and of the several States, whereby these 
have been made more plastic and supple instruments of 
the sovereign will of the people. Who is so literal and 
materialistic, as to deny that the adoption of the Initiative, 
the Referendimi, the Recall, and of Woman's Suffrage has 
been in each case an enterprise that has given full scope to 
all the Uve qualities of the pioneer spirit ? It was as late 
as 1903 that Mr. H. G. Wells imfortimately committed 
himself to saying of America : ''No national Income Tax 
is legal ; and there is practically no power, short of revolu- 
tion, to alter that." And yet tiie pioneer spirit has altered 
" that," already, and far short of revolution in the sense of 
violence and disorder. 

It was Mr. Walter Bagehot in his book on " The English 
Constitution," who, criticising the American Constitution a 
generation ago, said that the defect of it was that just when 
you most wanted to find the sovereign will of the people 
there was no way of discovering it. He therefore main- 
tained that England, with its government by Cabinet and 
its Electoral Appeal to the people whenever the Cabinet 
lost the support on any vital issue of the majority of the 
House of Commons, was far more democratic in method 
than America. But the pioneer spirit of America in the 
last five years has been able to find means for the expression 
of the sovereign will of the people, and there is ample evi- 
dence to justify the belief that in another generation 
America will be in reality, as well as in boast, the most 
democratic nation in the world. 

2. A Falsehood that will be made True 

My allusion to the boast of Americans that their coimtry 
is a democracy suggests to me what I count a third vital f al- 


lacy implied in Mr. Zimmem's sociological reasoning. In 
one place he says : ''The schoolboy is taught in his text- 
book, and repeats to every passing stranger, that America, 
being a republic, is a free country and that she is a pure 
democracy, and that she offers perfect liberty to her citi- 
zens, that she knows no distinctions of rank and class, that, 
giving votes to all, she is governed by all. All this is false 
to-day, if it ever was true." 

My knowledge of the dynamics of national life has helped 
me to see that the fallacies about itself which a nation 
sincerely believes to be true are of greater worth as a na- 
tional asset and are therefore in a sense more true than 
those exactly literal facts which an unsympathetic stran- 
ger is quite capable of detecting even in less than a seven 
months' visit. Let it be conceded that America is not by 
any means governed by all, although she gives votes to all ; 
that she knows inhuman, bitter, and wholly unjustifiable 
distinctions of rank and class; that there is nothing she 
offers which even remotely resembles perfect equality 
among her citizens ; and that she is not either a free country 
or a pure democracy. Still, there is more hope for a land 
that is not free in fact, but is so in ideal, than for a land 
that is in fact free, but is not so in ideal. A nation that 
teaches in its text-books to every schoolboy, so that he can 
repeat it to every passing stranger, that his country is free, 
is storing up a dynamic of liberty that will prove irresist- 
ible when once it strikes consciously against economic 
inequalities of opportunity. The future of a country does 
not come out of what it is at present or what it was in a past 
generation, — such a notion is a mere pedantry of academic 
sociology. The future of a country comes out of what its 
teachers tell its schoolboys that it is. For, when in later 
life they find that the country is not what the teachers 
prepared them to expect, the teachers' statement will be 
transformed by the younger generation into fiery prophecy. 


When Americans awake to the illusory nature of what had 
been taught them in childhood as very fact, it will be the 
newly detected facts and not the illusion which they will 
repudiate as impossible. They will transform the Great 
Illusion into a Greater Fact. 

The most wonderful characteristic of that state of mind 
which is America is the teaching of this fallacy that America 
is a free country. There is no other land in the world 
where the boys and girls have been so taught from the be- 
ginning of the nation's existence that their nation offers 
perfect equality to its citizens. Russia has not taught 
that, Prussia has not taught that ; and I can testify from 
twenty-five years of close observation of what is given by 
teachers to the children of England that no child bom 
in Great Britain has ever been told by parent, teacher, or 
preacher that in England there are no distinctions of rank 
and class, that the coimtry is free and offers equality to all, 
and that she is governed by all. One reason why economic 
equality as regards the ownership of land comes so slowly 
in England and why women's suffrage has seemed to many 
of the best women in England as if it were an instalment of 
justice that never could be brought about except by violence 
and terror, is because in England no educators have been 
indiscreet enough to perpetuate the explosive fallacy that 
all men are created free and equal. 

Could there be any greater proof that it is a mistake to deny 
a homogeneous culture to America than the fact that the 
United States has for a himdred and forty years taught, in 
season and out of season, in every section of the land, to all 
children and adults, and teaches now more than ever, the 
doctrine of equality ? Americans have been setting up that 
false notion, — false to the facts, — and making it the stand- 
ard by which they will condemn all conflicting facts. That 
false doctrine will never be yielded up simply because it is 
false ; it will make itself true. ' Sociologically, there could 


be no greater error than to laugh at the Declaration of 
Independence and the Preamble of the Constitution of the 
United States as if they were mere words or mere paper or 
mere ideas, simply because the economic conditions of 
America do not tally with them. That Declaration and 
that Preamble are as yet not facts, and in this sense are 
only ideas. But some ideas act as stimuli to the primal 
instincts and cravings in human nature, they awaken an 
active thirst for self-realization. They cannot therefore be 
called merely ideas, as if they were not actual potencies, 
for they are incentives which build and unbuild States. 
The conviction, "I am free," striking unexpectedly against 
the flinty fact, "I am not free," generates a spark from 
whence a revolution may be kindled. 

But, happily, in this America, which is said not to be a 
nation but only a congeries of nations, the idea that she is 
free is not an absolute falsehood. There are some actual 
institutions in the United States that not only are free, but 
are open doors to a larger freedom. Those clauses in the 
Constitution of the coimtry which made it possible to in- 
troduce the Income Tax without the violence of revolution 
are footholds on which the Spirit of Liberty can stand 
and lift the whole people into economic equality. 

3. America true to the Law of her own Being 

It is to be regretted that many present-day students of 
American life, instead of noting that the United States is 
evolving from within according to the organic law of its own 
being, are simply struck by the fact that great changes are 
taking place. They see the new phases of life, but do not 
seem to detect the inner law from which they issue. The 
new phases accordingly seem to them incidental, accidental, 
or arbitrary. But I should like to record, for what it is 
worth, my judgment that, as compared with England and 


Gennany, America is not being transformed more rapidly 
than either of these other two countries, nor in the changes 
which she is effecting is she less true to the genius of her 
historic past. There is no more occasion to write a book 
on *' Changing America, " as one American has done, than for 
a German to write a book on changing Germany ; likewise, 
it is a great mistake to imagine that America in 1914 is a 
new world, any more than is the England of the same year, 
as compared with that of 1814. Berlin, Diisseldorf, and 
Munich, London, Manchester, and Liverpool are no more 
like what they were even fifty years ago tiian is New York 
like its former self, or San Francisco and Chicago like them- 
selves. The sanitary conditions, the municipal laws, the 
habits and tastes of the people have imdergone as great a 
revolution throughout Germany and England as through- 
out America. What is more, the changes have been, on the 
whole, in the same direction. One cannot say that Germany 
and England have become Americanized, although they 
both have become democratized and socialized in education, 
politics, economics, and in mental characteristics. German 
democratization is of an essentially German kind ; that of 
England bears all the marks of the peculiar dialectical pro- 
cess by which for a thousand years England has zigzagged 
forward ; while America has become more social-democratic 
in a manner which only her peculiar problems and her par- 
ticular traditions could have occasioned. It is therefore 
altogether superficial and uncritical to interpret the rapidity 
of the changes in America as due to a lack of cohesiveness 
or a deficiency of unifying power in the moral genius 
of the nation. It woidd seem as if some sociological visi- 
tors from abroad become bewildered by the complexity 
and extent of American social life, as if their brain power 
was not equal to detecting the inward imity which embraces 
all the differences and even dictates the changes, manipu- 
lating them in the interests of the nation. But it is surely 



a fallacy to infer that there is no coordination in an ex- 
ternal complex, because one's own mind lacks the imifying 
faculty of apperception. 

As a proof of increasing anarchy and chaos, and as support 
to the assertion that America is not a nation, it is stated 
that during the last decade the restlessness of the working- 
classes is greater. They shift more often from dty to dty 
and from State to State than they did thirty years ago. 
From this the critic infers that they do not remain long 
enough in any one locality of the United States to receive 
a unity of culture or to feel a local attachment. But such 
an interpretation presupposes that, when they shift from 
State to State, they come under another type of moral and 
social influence, and that the locality to which they are 
becoming attached may not be America as a whole. In 
journeying to and from New York and San Francisco I 
have been astonished to find almost an absolute identity 
in the degree and kind of culture that exists over the whole 
continent. I have heard very much friendly bantering of 
the inhabitants of one section towards those of another, as 
if there were colossal differences ; but I am certain that as 
I passed from Boston to Los Angeles there was no down- 
ward slope to a lower or any ramification to a different 
culture. The only place in which I became aware of a 
drop in tone and a different type of civilization was in 
Utah, especially Salt Lake City; but whoever has read 
the Book of Mormon and knows all the circumstances 
will understand how Mormonism has acted as a barrier, 
shutting out from Utah the full influence of modem critical 
thought and social education. 

The very increase in the shifting of populations from 
locality to locality itself tends to cultural unification and 
lifts the lowest of the population above the dull imconscious- 
ness of self in which the proletariats of European nations 
have slept until the last thirty years. One of the striking 


contrasts between the middle- and the working-class popu- 
lations in a country like England is the greater mobiUty 
(because they can sifford it) of the middle classes from sec- 
tion to section. The shifting, then, of the wage-earners in 
America simply means that they already have the cultural 
opportunity of the trading classes of England. 

In the preceding paragraphs I have tried to show that 
the differences in American life that seem to point to a lack 
of unity are really purely superficial, or are actually causes 
of unity; and I have also shown that the preaching of 
liberty, equality, and fraternity is imiversal, and always 
has been since the winning of independence by the American 
Colonies. In a later chapter, likewise, I shall make it 
clear that the subsidiary patriotisms of the various national 
groups of American immigrants give an interesting and 
delightful variety without destroying in the least the 
cultural imity of the United States, or her dominance as 
a formative power. I have also pointed out two negative 
characteristics of America which cause all her citizens, 
in common, to escape two of the mightiest pressures that 
have shaped the characters of people in all the other great 
nations of the world. One is the absence, relatively, of 
the State and therefore the lack of the sense of the State ; 
the other is the absence of any concrete monuments of the 
civilization of the world prior to 1606 and of all such 
customs, habits, and traditions as were left behind in the 
Old World and all such as pilgrim and immigrant have 
preferred to forget. There is reason to believe, as I have 
already said, that a nation which during its first century 
and a half of existence is comparatively free from these two 
pressures, will never desire to submit to the State or to 
revere it, or to be brought under that mighty Past from 
which it in great part escaped. It seems quite reasonable 
to conjecture that however rapidly the State develops in 
power and enters into the details of the lives of individuals, 


[| the individuals will never forget that they themselves 

devised the laws and enforced them ; and that they them- 
selves, as a nation, that is, as a Society, were the original 
protoplasm, as it were, which differentiated itself into a 
State, and that they can at any time, being still alive and 
creative, slough off all laws and traditions that have become 
dead, and can afresh shape other laws to meet the present 
and the future need. And as America sees an ever deepen- 
ing past of her own stretching behind her, that past, being 
her own, will be increasingly a power on the side of those 
ideas which first dictated and then adapted her political 

With no pretence of a systematic or exhaustive presen- 
tation of the positive influences that play upon the 
minds of all American citizens alike, let me mention three 
more which have a direct relation to the fundamental 
purpose of this book. 

4. Where the Poor do not look up to the Rich 

I t 

The first is the universal attitude of the American poor 
to the rich. While in all other great historic nations, and 
in America as well, the rich look down upon the poor, 
America is the only great nation where the poor do not 
inwardly, that is, with real respect and reverence, look up 
to the rich or to the ruling classes in general. An English 
gentleman visiting in the United States misses a certain 
deference to which he has always been accustomed. He 
sometimes receives the very opposite ; but in the end, if 
he pierces to the motive forces of social democracy and if 
he respects democracy and believes in it, he will interpret 
what at first seems to him contempt for persons of a higher 
social station as being in reality the American working- 
man's enormously greater respect for himself. It is not 
that he respects the rich and powerful less than the British 


workman, but that he respects hunself infinitely more. 
The social atmosphere of America engenders in him a 
fearlessness towards anybody and everybody. He be- 
comes superbly oblivious to any conventional barriers 
with which the rich of America attempt to secure them- 
selves against easy approach. He may notice difference 
of dress and bearing and of speech ; but these by no means 
impress or overpower him. Nothing can be more astonish- 
ing to a European of high social position as he moves among 
the rank and file of the American public than to find the 
perfect readiness with which persons will speak to him on 
a basis of social equality while belonging to a class who 
in Europe would not dream of making any social approach. 
I may be allowed to cite as typical of himdreds of experi- 
ences that are likely to befall any visitor to the United 
States one of my own. I have selected it as illustrative 
of a general temper among the wage-earners of America, 
and as an exhilarating expression of the general absence 
of social deference. This experience was provided me by 
the conductor of an electric street-car in a city of the Middle 
West. It was a summer evening and the open car was 
crowded. As the car was brilliantly lighted, I was for 
an instant too dazzled to detect whether there still remained 
one vacant seat or not ; accordingly, as the conductor stood 
near on the outer rail where I moimted the car, I asked 
him in a tone no louder than necessary, ''Is there an empty 
seat?" "An empty seat?*' exclaimed he in a voice that 
attracted the attention of every one in the car, "Can't 
you see for 3rourself? Haven't you got any eyes?" 
Whereupon all my fellow-passengers riveted theirs upon me. 
As I took my seat, I fixed my gaze upon the conductor, 
when he again broke out with, "That's right, stare at me ! 
My name's McCarthy and my number is 243." Again 
my fellow-passengers focussed their vision upon me. Some 
twenty minutes later every one else had got out, but I 


remained, as I was going to my brother's house beyond the 
terminus of the electric line. I was looking off into the 
dark and wishing myself back in effete England, when 
suddenly I felt two hands, like those of a suppliant, placed 
upon my knees ; and there stood the conductor, who in 
subdued and gentle voice began : " See here ! I understand 
you are Colonel Coit's brother. I hope you won't peach 
on me ; for if you do, I shall get the sack." *'I shall not 
say anything,'* I replied, *'but it is a pity if a foreigner — " 
"There now!" he interrupted, *'do you know, I thought 
you must be a foreigner ! No American would ever have 
asked such a damn-fool question as you did ! " In America 
wage-earners not only coimt themselves as good as any- 
body else, but will allow no one, I have learned, to intrench 
upon their time a moment beyond what is nominated 
in the bond. American working-men regard themselves 
simply as men, as fellow-citizens, and not as members of 
the economic class to which for the moment they belong. 
Not a day can be passed by a visitor from Europe without 
being reminded of the universal fact throughout America 
that there is no horizontal stratification of society and that 
no one seemingly at the bottom feels any superincumbent 
weight of the classes above him pressing out of him not 
only the ability, but even the desire to rise. If the traveller 
from Europe chances to put up at the best hotels, for 
instance, in the Yellowstone Park, he may observe, as I 
did, among the guests at the evening dance given for them in 
the dining room, the women who during the day have 
been serving at the tables. Bewildered by this circumstance, 
he may apply to the hotel clerk to inquire whether this 
be a servants' or a guests' dance ; and he will be informed 
that it is both ! He will be assured that if the waitresses 
were not admitted to the dance, they would immediately 
strike. Upon his return to the East, if he cites such expe- 
riences as typical of American life, his friends will explain 



that the waitresses in the Yellowstone Park were not 
ordinary "hired help," but were probably school-teachers 
taking their summer holidays. Yet to him, this explanation 
only reveals the more palpably the astonishing absence of 
any horizontal classification of social grades in America. 
I have said that the American working-man never looks up 
to the rich and to the ruling classes and he feels no barrier 
in approaching nor any shyness in seeking access. This 
is the more remarkable, considering the enormous respect 
paid to riches; and it is only explicable on the ground 
that the respect for the riches is impersonal. It is the 
money the American reveres, and not the man who owns it. 
It would seem that even the richest men in America are 
not so vain as to imagine that it is they and not their riches 
which are sought after. In his *' Inspired Millionaires," Mr. 
Gerald Stanley Lee with exquisite humour depicted the 
American plutocrat who is only rich and nothing more. 
He represents such a millionaire as forced in mere self- 
pity to become something else besides rich ; for he cannot 
induce any one, least of all the poor, even though he come 
with open cheque-book in hand, to have him for a friend 
and companion. The public hold aloof because they look 
down upon him, not because they look up. 

Now there is no other nation on the earth where the poor 
do not with genuine reverence and sincere respect look up 
to the rich. In Germany the Social Democratic Party has 
been trying for forty years to prevent the poor from doing 
this, but has not succeeded except through terrorization. 
In England, in spite of the organization of the aristocracy 
of labour into proud trade-unions, the average working-man 
still has social contempt for members of his own order. 
He has a sincere deference for the members of the so-called 
"gentleman class," and prefers to have gentlemen represent 
him in the House of Commons. The contempt of the 
working-man in America for the rich merely as the rich is 


the greatest dynamic factor in the evolution towards social 
justice that the world possesses to-day ; while the reason 
that liberty and equality halt so long in their advance over 
Europe is because the wage-earners respect their "superiors" 
and believe in them more than they respect and believe 
in themselves. 

5. IfUuUion versus Instinct and Intellect 

The second unique element that is diffused throughout 
the entire moral atmosphere of America and gives to it 
a tonic effect is the imiversal faith in the power of the 
experienced mother-wit of every average individual to 
cope with unforeseen difficulties, and in the corresponding 
power of the combined mother-wit of the nation to enlist 
ultimately all the resources of the imiverse into the service 
of humanity. Perhaps I cannot better bring out the exact 
character of this pervasive feature than by calling the at- 
tention of my reader to the distinction, as M. Bergson 
makes it, between intuition on the one hand, and on the 
other instinct and intelligence. 

Adopting the Bergsonian distinction, we may say that 
England is proverbial the world over for her reliance upon 
instinct. This accoimts for her fumbling and her faith in 
fumbling. She trusts to accident and happy chance and 
to improvised hand-to-mouth judgments. Britishers be- 
lieve in the subconscious trend in themselves; their in- 
telligence is tied down to the immediate present, and they 
trust to its spontaneous reaction against the imanticipated 
circumstances which confront them. In this way they 
have moved for ages through crises and have moved out 
of long epochs exactly as the birds in the north of Scotland 
pass in the autumn southward over Europe to Egypt ; and 
the result has thus far justified them in trusting to their 
almost automatic reaction in coping with adverse environ- 


ments which have no precedent. On the other hand, the 
British have no historic experience to justify them in trust- 
ing either to their logical intelligence or their intuition. 
Mr. Gladstone has given classic recognition to this in- 
stinctive character of the British genius in a passage in 
which he contrasts the Constitution of England with that 
of America. "The two Constitutions," he says, "of the two 
countries express rather the differences than resemblances 
of the two nations. The one is a thing grown, the other is 
a thing made ; the one, the offspring of tendency and in- 
determinate time, the other of choice and of an epoch. 
But, as the British Constitution is the most subtle organism 
which has proceeded from the womb and the long gesta- 
tion of progressive history, so the American Constitution 
is, as far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck 
off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man. It 
has had a century of trial imder the pressure of exigencies 
caused by an expansion unexampled in point of rapidity 
and range ; and its exemption from formal change, though 
not entire, has certainly proved the sagacity of the con- 
structors and the stubborn strength of the fabric." 

America has not been an outgrowth of instinct; but 
neither does it illustrate the action of logical or abstract 
intellect. For a nation typical of the logical imderstanding, 
in the Bergsonian sense, we must look to Germany. Here 
we see a nation which is at the same time the least instinc- 
tive and also the least intuitive nation on earth. Germans 
believe universally in abstract reasoning and even in de- 
ductive inference when once they have carefully built 
up their generalizations. Modem Germany has been made 
according to a highly elaborated design, just as a building 
is put up according to the architect's plans. As compared 
with Englishmen and Americans, Germans never trust 
either instinct or intuition. They will not even trust a 
man whom they have seen and with whom they have talked 


by the impression he makes directly upon them, but require 
paper credentials and the testimonials of teachers and 
employers, and these evidences they will accept even 
against their own immediate impression. The Germans 
have become so impregnated with the habit of exact and 
quantitative knowledge such as science demands, that they 
find it difficult to act in any direction imtil they have 
attained a definition and an algebraical formula. They 
seem, therefore, both to the Englishman and the American, 
to be victims of a pedantry that bids fair to paralyze what- 
ever mother-wit they may have been endowed with at birth. 
Even the Social Democratic Party, although consisting 
chiefly of untutored working-men, illustrates this national 
characteristic. The Social Democratic Party was derived 
directly from the imiversity discipline and studies of two 
middle-class thinkers, and all along it has been led by 
doctors of philosophy from the imiversities. It is the most 
rationalistic, metaphysical, self-conscious, and theoretical 
organization in the world, and is the least instinctive and 
the least intuitive. It is absolutely encoffined in the meta- 
physical dogma of Karl Marx. Such Socialism can see 
no facts that run counter to Marx's fiction ; and, unless new 
life be brought to it from some genius who, like Edward 
Bernstein, has been in touch with the instinctive method 
of England, the Social Democratic Party is doomed to 
practical ineffectuality. Its Utopia is an abstract con- 
struction of logical intellect, which will be shattered the 
moment its leaders come into power and try to meet the 
demands of concrete life. Schopenhauer protested against 
this kind of death-engendering intellectualism of Germany, 
and so did Nietzsche. Bernstein, even within the Con- 
gresses of the Social Democratic Party, has now for more 
than a decade cried protest in the name of instinct and 
But Bergson coimts both the method of instinct and the 


method of the logical intellect as inferior to intuition. In- 
tuition, as he defines it, has all the self-consciousness of 
understanding and yet that closeness of spontaneous re- 
action to the instant circumstance which characterizes 
instinct in the lower animals. Now America as a nation 
is equally distrustful of the cul de sac of instinct and the 
designed canals of the logical imderstanding ; and, instead, 
she chooses the lightning path of intuition. This has been 
characteristic of America from the first. Even the Con- 
stitution which Gladstone so admired was struck off by 
tact, by concrete thinking, by supreme self-reliance. 

Americans seem to believe in education, but their real 
trust is in each man's immediate insight and in his ability 
to anticipate the demands of the concrete situation that 
confronts him. Americans seem to believe in science ; but 
they never allow her to become the mistress; she is only 
the handmaid of their mother-wit. Intuition is where 
instinct and scientific intelligence fuse into a new point 
of illumination. This new illuminating force woidd be 
impossible if both the trained intellect and the blind in- 
stinct were not there and did not come together. As 
illustrative, I would cite the peculiar blend of theory 
and of practical application in the methods of Edison 
and Burbank. They are both instances of the intuitive 
character of the American mind. It was equally manifested 
in the financial methods of Americans like Harriman and 
Pierpont Morgan. These men comprehended the markets 
of the world with an eagle's sweep of vision, but with equal 
agility darted to the strategic point of central control. 
Unlike Germans, Americans suspect all custom and tradi- 
tion and all authority in every walk of life ; and yet even 
in business their utilitarianism is idealistic. They know 
that yesterday's knowledge is already obsolete this morn- 
ing. On the other hand, they have no mystic faith, like 
that of the English, in the somnambulism of instinct. 


Another instance of the intuitive character of the Ameri- 
can mind is that very American movement in commercial 
enterprise called ''Scientific Management." This method 
of avoiding all possible waste in manufacture and in busi- 
ness, when closely examined, is foimd to consist primarily 
in concentrated observation of the actual practices already 
in vogue, in an alert challenge and beating back of routine 
habits and devices that may have outlived their efficiency, 
and in a casting out of every element in accepted methods 
that cannot justify itself by its utility in the present dr- 
cimistance. It is gratifying to observe in America that this 
same method of scientific management is already beginning 
to be taken over from the sphere of material wealth to that 
of the nation's mental and moral resources, with an eye to 
doubling the output of the nation's spiritual insight and ef- 
ficiency. America believes in an intuitive mastery of facts 
in the interests of utilitarian idealism, and will discard in 
religion as well as in industry both the blindness of instinct 
and the mechanism of intellect. Facing the immediate facts, 
she will allow the divining will of the people to advance 
without chart or compass. M. Bergson points out that 
the method of the creative artist is never that of logic 
or of instinct, but is always that of intuition. In the United 
States business men, the leaders of political parties, and the 
champions of religion are beginning consciously to realize 
that their method must be that of constructive and creative 
imagination — the method of poets. And now that her 
preachers and teachers, philosophers and statesmen have 
caught this psychic secret of the makers of her original 
Constitution, and of the triumphant materialism that has 
mastered her economic opportunity, it is easy to believe 
that the human day in her creative evolution has come. 


6. Where the Educated^ Leisured, and Revered Class consisis 

of Women 

The transition from the foregoing characteristic of the 
American nation to the third and last which I wish to 
point out here, is a natural one. One-half of mankind are 
proverbially intuitive. The social position of women in 
America and the moral attitude of men towards them are, 
in my judgment, unprecedented in the world's history, and 
are fraught with deepest significance for the future of the 
nation, especially for the future of its Soul and of the part 
which organized religion will play in the developing of its 
spiritual resources. 

Probably next to the women of the United States those 
of England are the best educated in the world; yet to 
anyone well acquainted with the educational aspects of 
the two countries it must seem that for one woman with 
a college education in England, there are a thousand in 
America. Now, to be subjected for four consecutive years 
to systematic instruction and study produces an enormous 
eflfect upon the power of voluntary control over the in- 
tellect and upon the systematization of one's acquired 
knowledge. Throughout America one is continually meet- 
ing women who immediately pigeonhole and tabulate in 
their college-learned scheme of things any chance remark 
that one may make ; so that one becomes aware that one 
is being placed in the classified universe in which one's 
interlocutor lives. A person with a four years' college 
education has an enormous advantage over those who 
have not enjoyed any such opportimity. But the more 
remarkable circumstance about the intellectual position 
of women in America is that there is no corresponding 
class of men. I do not know the exact figures as to the 
relative number of men and women who receive a college 
education; but it is no imcommon thing to meet with 



families who send their sons into business, while they send 
their daughters to college. The real educational superi- 
ority, however, of the women of America is due to the fact 
that, after they leave their academic balls, they continue 
through the rest of their lives their acquaintance with philo- 
sophy, history, literature, art, and science, while the men 
from the same families do not. These go into business and 
work from morning till night so exhaustively that they 
have neither time nor mental energy left for the continued 
pursuit of purely intellectual interests. As more than one 
friend of mine has said to me, '^I have read nothing since 
I left college; ever since I have been married, I have 
handed over the 'culture' to my wife." For the first time 
in the history of the world, so far as I know, one is con- 
fronted in America with the fact that the men are inferior 
to the women of their own social set as regards philosophic 
outlook, historic insight, universal information, and the 
qualities of mind due to a disinterested pursuit of the ideals 
of truth, beauty, and character. No visitor from abroad, 
acquainted with the facts I am presenting, can fail to realize 
that they disclose something distinctively and universally 
American. By a typical incident the intellectual life of 
the well-to-do women of America was brought home to me 
recently in New York City. Having learned that my friend 
Professor Zueblin was to deliver a discourse at eleven 
o'clock, Tuesday morning, on **The Conservation of the 
Natural Resources of America, '' I made my way to the 
theatre where the lecture was to be given. Having paid 
a fashionable price for a ticket, I found myself in a large 
auditorixmi, one of some eight hundred human beings. 
But, with the exception of Zueblin and myself, there were 
only women present. After the admirably constructed 
and informing discourse had been finished, I approached 
the lecturer with the remark : **But how preposterous that 
you should be talking on the Conservation of the Natural 


Resources of America to nearly a thousand persons, no 
one of whom has any political office or any directive power 
in the organized industries of the nation, and not one of 
whom can vote. Why waste your time? Why not, 
instead, lecture to men ?" "Ah, but you forget,*' was the 
reply, "that the well-to-do men of America are too busy; 
only the women have the leisure or the mental energy to 
attend lectures. But it is not so futile to speak to them ; 
for they go home and tell their husbands ; and their hus- 
bands do what they tell them !" This kind of thing exists 
throughout the length and breadth of America. The 
women are everywhere organized into clubs, where they 
hear the great questions of modem thought presented, 
while the men, so I am informed, have no time for such 
pursuits. Perhaps the only exception, as regards the men, 
is that of the ever increasing groups, in all the larger cities, 
of those who have founded clubs devoted to civic reforms 
and where the members, lunching together, spend upwards 
of an hour a week in the consideration of problems of im- 
portance. On the whole, however, the men are absorbed 
in earning a livelihood or acquiring a fortune ; while their 
vrives, sisters, and daughters are equally strenuous in pur- 
suing those ends for which one earns a living. 

The women of America, so far as I am aware, are the only 
class of himian beings in the world who have equipped them- 
selves intellectually with no scope for action. For, while 
America has provided and lavished upon them opportuni- 
ties of intellectual discipline and acquisition, it has fur- 
nished no more outlet for the will of women than any other 
coimtry has provided. To one who is accustomed to the 
new psychological interpretation of the Intellect as a mere 
instrument of the human will in the execution of its designs, 
it seems a moral enormity that the women of America, who 
have no more scope for voluntary self-realization in politics, 
law, medicine, religion, business, or handicraft than the 


women of the Old World, yet constitute the intellectual 
aristocracy of their nation. The men of the coimtry so 
will it. This, on their part, is either a national madness, 
or else they have been, unconsciously, prophetically, and 
without knowing it, preparing their womankind for some 
great and significant responsibility which they had not 
designed and have not even foreseen. It is often true that 
unique national trends make for several generations to- 
wards no foreseen goal, and yet they arrive at a point of 
destination which, when discerned, is immediately recognized 
as a full justification for what seemed a meaningless drift- 
ing. If, now, the vote should be granted to all women 
in America, they will be the best-prepared class in 
the world, as regards their knowledge of the ultimate 
ends and ideals of human existence. At the same 
time, the new responsibility will open up avenues of 
volitional self-realization, which will justify their mental 
equipment and will save them from the pathological effects 
of being without scope for the will. But, I repeat, in- 
tellectually the equipment of women in America is unique. 

The women of America, also, have more freedom from en- 
grossing cares and responsibilities than have the women of 
any of the older nations of the world. It would seem here, 
again, that the menfolk of a nation who are ready to slave 
that the women of their families need not work, must be, 
in some mystic way, the instruments of a cosmic or col- 
lective trend of humanity. It is imprecedented in history 
that men should not care to share in the freedom which 
they secure for their wives and daughters. When Ameri- 
can women get the vote, the significance of the revolu- 
tion will consist in the fact that, relatively to the present 
voters, they are persons of education and leisure. 

But there is one other national peculiarity of the attitude 
of American men towards the mental and moral qualities 
of the women of their class. In one of my many voyages 


to America from England I overheard a German, an 
Englishman, and an American discussing the relative 
character and ability of women. The German gave true 
utterance to the tradition of his nation in maintaining that 
women were by nature inferior and should hold a corre- 
spondingly subordinate social position. The Englishman 
maintained that men and women were equal, however 
different, and should be comrades on the same level. 
He pleaded that for a man to place all women on a pedestal 
was degrading to himself and that for women to be en- 
couraged to think themselves superior would tend to 
destroy their most beautiful characteristics. But the 
American insisted that there was something peculiarly 
holy and divine in the nature of womanhood and that men 
ought to know it; women were to be worshipped. 
Whether such an attitude be one of folly or not, it is un- 
deniable that in America the spiritual relation of the sexes 
is different from what it is anywhere else in the world. 
And as regards the conservation and development of the 
spiritual resources of the nation, this difference gives a 
tremendous significance to the approaching political 
emancipation of women and the opening of the intellectual 
professions to them. In a nation where the menfolk for 
three generations have had no leisure and no surplus brain 
energy to devote to politics or to religion, a class of hxmian 
beings better educated than the present voters, more 
leisured, and highly revered by the community at large, 
is suddenly to receive equal powers of initiative. I 
prophesy, therefore, that in America the granting of the 
vote to women will advance the spiritual life of the nation 
far more than it will in England. In the interests of 
democracy and of himianistic religion I rejoice that the 
half of the population which has the better intellectual 
equipment and the more leisure and is the more respected 
and trusted is about to enter into full civic opportimity. 




I. Jewish EfUkusuism far America 

One of the most interesting narratives in Mr. Wells' book 
on "The Future in America" is his account of how one 
of the women leaders of a college settlement in New York 
City led him to the building of the Educational Alliance, 
a Jewish Institution in East Broadway, to show him how 
the little immigrant children were being transformed into 
enthusiastic patriots of their new home. There he wit- 
nessed the ceremony, performed by recently arrived 
Jewish children, of the Salutation of the American Flag. 
Each child, it seems, held two small specimens of this 
symbol of the soul of the new country to which they had 
come; and in the midst of the ceremony the children 
repeated aloud in imison these words: "Flag of our great 
Republic, inspirer in battle, guardian of our houses, whose 
stars and stripes stand for bravery, purity, truth, and union, 
we salute thee ! We, the natives of distant lands, who rest 
under thy folds, do pledge our hearts, our lives, and our 
sacred honour, to love and protect thee, our country, and 
the liberty of the American people forever." After quoting 
these words Mr. Wells gives the following comment: 
"The Educational Alliance is, of course, not a public in- 
stitution; it was organized by Hebrews, and conducted 
for Hebrews, chiefly for the benefit of the Hebrew immi- 
grants. It is practically the only organized attempt to 
Americanize the immigrant child." 

I am here reminded that a Jewish Rabbi in New York 
City, after listening to my theory that religion in America 



should be essentially the higher patriotism of the country, 
remarked: "We Jews in the United States have been 
charged with going too far in that direction already." 
In that same direction some Jews in Boston also seem 
to have moved. I recall that a few years ago a Jewish 
Rabbi there gave up his synagogue and established an or- 
ganization which in its printed circular declared in so many 
words that the essence of its religion was American idealism. 
Its formula ran thus : — 

Religion should answer the insistent questionings of the hu- 
man mind, should relate itself to the universe and human 
beings to one another. An American religion must meet the 
needs of our peculiar civilization, and must grip and govern the 
facts of life for us here and now. A nation is in danger whose 
doings and aims are not given meaning through ideal purposes. 

We believe that real religion is practical idealism, not apart 
from, but a part of, the everyday life and the actual interests 
of the people; we believe that our homes must harbour 
mutually respecting equals, that education must help to call 
forth and harmonize all the powers of the individual, that science 
and art must prove their use to man, that law must serve the 
ends of absolute justice, that politics must express the will of 
the people, that the Press must be the honest agent of publicityy 
that business must be made moral and hiunan ; in short, that 
every social interest and undertaking must further the demo- 
cratic purpose of America, — to make strong, creative men and 
women, and to give them larger and fuller life. 

Our aim is to dignify the life of America, so that every in- 
dividual may know and work for its spiritual greatness and 
splendour, — through the dedication of each to all, the devotion 
of all to each, and our common consecration to all the nobler 
ends of life. 

Recently Rabbi Hirsch of Chicago has been urging whole- 
hearted devotion to the United States, so that the patriotism 
of all immigrants should be unqualified, and that they 
should call Uiemselves simply Americans and never Italian 



or Swedish or Jewish Americans. I have heard other Jews 
in America express a similar sentiment in sajdng that to 
them "America is Zion*' ; nor can there be any doubt that 
the national ideality of the Jews is deeply stirred when 
they reflect that, at last, there is one city in the world, 
now after nineteen hundred years, that has a greater 
Jewish population than even Jerusalem had in the period 
immediately before its destruction, and that this modem city 
is one no less significant, in commerce, finance, and educa- 
tion, than New York. The educated Jews the world over 
also have not been slow to recognize that in very many 
particulars the American Republic more resembles their 
own theocratic nation of old than does any other State in 
the world. Their ancient theocracy in many of its laws 
was even more democratic than America has yet become ; 
but the newer trend of American legislation concerning 
land and capital moves towards the ideal embodied in the 
ancient Jewish code. But in order fully to understand the 
tendency of the Jews in the United States to deify the 
national spirit, we must bear in mind that the Jews are the 
only people of the Western world who since the ascendency 
of Christianity have identified religion with the higher 
patriotism. It would seem the most natural thing in the 
world, therefore, that the Jews in the United States should 
be in the vanguard of those who recognize the divinity and 
the redemptive grace of the Soul of America. 

It is not enough, however, to remember the Jewish 
identification of patriotism and religion if we are fully to 
explain the incident which Mr. Wells narrates; we must 
also remember the workings of human nature when a man 
transfers his allegiance, spiritual and political, from one 
country or one ideal nationality to another. It is the 
greatest error in social psychology to believe that a man, 
in becoming the citizen or subject of a new State and nation, 
empties his soul, or ought to empty his soul, of the love and 


gratitude and the stored-up traditions of the land of his 
birth or of his ancestry. It is one of the preposterous 
pedantries of the mechanical and atomistic psychology of a 
century ago to imagine that the highest honour and loyalty 
toward one's new psychic environment is to forget and deny 
the old. But the natural and the right thing is for an 
immigrant to America to preserve all that is finest and 
best in the tradition which he has inherited and pour these 
treasures of historic humanity into the new nation's com- 
mon fund of mental wealth. Thin and mean, indeed, 
would have been the life of the United States of America 
if the Pilgrims and Puritans, and the Cavaliers who went 
to Virginia had not brought with them and contributed to 
colonial life all that they thought good in the old life of 
England. It would have been as great a loss to them 
and the nation they were creating to have left behind the 
human values which they had inherited as it would have 
been to forget the English language and, like primitive 
savages, to begin with rudimentary babblings and attempt 
out of these to construct a new speech. Nobody will deny 
the truth of what I am saying as regards the original 
settlers ; and happily some will agree with me, that all the 
immigrants who have come to the United States since 1828 
have also been Pilgrims, and that they should have been 
taught that their chief contribution to the vital wealth of 
America must be the highest tradition which they received 
from ancient Palestine or directly from the social life of 
modem Bulgaria, Lithuania, Greece and Armenia, Poland, 
Italy and Spain, Norway, Sweden and Ireland. We 
should know, if we were not historically and poetically 
blind, that all the immigrants come into America trailing 
clouds of glory from whatever nations were their homes, 
and contributing a softness of beauty, a pathos and tender- 
ness, a dignity and depth to this still early dawn of Ameri- 
can democracy. 

} r 


2. Subsidiary Patriotisms 

Mr. Arthur Balfour, in speaking of the Scotch in Eng- 
land, calls attention to the fact that there is such a thing as 
patriotism and subsidiary patriotism. I want to urge that 
patriotism is the richer for all the subsidiary patriotisms 
it can contain. I want further to urge, as concerns the 
Jew, that the alternative before him in the United States 
is not whether he shall be a Jew or an American in religion. 
The alternative is not whether he shall regard America as 
existing in order to advance the Jews throughout the 
world, or the Jews in America as called upon to use their 
religious tradition in the service of the United States, bring- 
ing it as a thank-offering to the altar of the God of America. 

The Jews living in America see, as I have said, an astonish- 
ing likeness between that Moral Genius of their own race 
which they have worshipped and the Moral Genius that is 
revealing itself in American institutions and history. They 
feel that they are in America now not from any adverse 
necessity, but by supreme good fortune ; they would not 
go back to Palestine, even if the powers of the world con- 
ceded to the people of this race an independent political 
state there. A Jew, in adopting such an attitude of mind, 
becomes a better Jew and a better American than he would 
be if he felt any incompatibility between Judaism and 

As a native-bom American, with thirteen generations of 
New England Puritan ancestry behind me, and as one 
who has transferred his political and spiritual allegiance to 
England, I wish to give my own testimony that the longer 
I have lived abroad and the more I have become English 
in my tastes and judgments, the more deeply and con- 
sciously American have I become at the same time. My 
very loyalty of sworn allegiance to Great Britain assimies 
the form of contributing something to Britain's Ufe and 


thought which I feel she needs, but which only those of her 
subjects can contribute who have inherited the American 

I therefore can understand that Americans of Hebrew 
descent and tradition are faced by no such unqualified 
alternative as that between Jew and American ; but there is 
confronting them only the choice indicated by the young 
Jewish philosopher, whom Mr. Zimmem quotes in a passage 
I have already cited, — the choice between an American Jew 
and a Jewish American. Surely, however, the choice, if it 
be rational and disinterested, must be to become a Jewish 
American. The assertion that a Jewish American is a 
mere amateur Gentile, doomed to be a parasite forever, is 
simply malicious libel and grossly untrue. In the venom 
secreted with the words and poured out upon the 
Hebrew American I seem to detect the disappointment 
of some antisemitic Jew whose personal effort to enter into 
Gentile society had failed. I am not unacquainted with a 
nimiber of the leading Jews of America and, irrespective of 
whatever label they may give themselves, or otJiers may 
attach to them, I make bold to affirm that they are all 
Americans and not a single one is an American Jew. Neither 
is a single one of them in any degree whatever an amateur 
Gentile or a parasite even for an instant. It is a cruel 
prejudice, fostered by some sinister and malignant motive 
of a selfish nature, which would stigmatize the Jewish 
American as a counterfeit. The man whom Mr. Zimmem 
quotes may have been a philosopher ; but many a man's 
philosophy is an exudation of his own pettiness. 

For years I have studied the character of the Jews 
in America, and all whom I have met were thoroughly 
Americans, and not simply those who had discarded tJieir 
religious allegiance to Judaism. Those who still remain 
most loyal to the sufferers of their own race and in out- 
ward conformity to synagogue or temple are in culture and 


spirit Americans first and Jews only by virtue of subsidiary 
patriotism. My valuation of the Jews is the very opposite 
to that presented in Mr. Houston Chamberlain's chapter on 
"The Entrance of the Jews into Western Civilization," in 
his popular book called, "The Foundations of the Nine- 
teenth Century." There is no psychological impossibility 
in a man's becoming the better American, the more he 
remains a Jew ; just as the more a man is loyal and devoted 
to his own family, the more he may love and serve the city in 
which he and they live. An American of Hebrew descent 
can, in this way, be true to the people of his own race the 
world over, and in proportion as he lifts them out of pov- 
erty and oppression he knows he is illustrating in his life 
the organic laws of American citizenship. 

3. Two Voices in the Old Testament 

Men like Mr. Houston Chamberlain, who have become 
obsessed by antisemitic hatred, can present a plausible his- 
torical argument for their interpretation of the Jews ; but 
the argument is only specious, not genuine. If one goes 
back to the Old Testament, one finds two distinct voices : 
the one, that of race-egoism and self-conceit; and the 
other, that of race-hxmiility and reverence for the moral 
genius of other nations as well as for that of Israel. In 
short, the Hebrew scriptures reveal both a vulgar jingoism 
and what I have in these pages often spoken of as "the 
higher patriotism, " — that which is identical with a sense of 
national responsibility towards its own members and the 
world at large. It is in the Hebrew scriptures exactly as it 
is in English literature. There are the same two voices in 
English poetry and prose — the voice of the national egoist 
and the voice, as that of Edmund Burke, of the national 
idealist. If one judges the English by their vulgar jingoists, 
England is as race-proud and domineering in temper and 


purpose as was ever Israel. But no one who has studied 
England in the great historic manifestations of her moral 
genius will deny that the voice of the idealist is the real 
voiqe of England ; and the other is that of pretenders and 
climbers. Now, when I tiun to the Jews of to-day in Ger- 
many, England, or America and ask them which voice in 
the Old Testament is the true voice of the Hebrew people, 
they all, without exception, declare that no Jew of to-day 
thinks for a moment that the Jewish people have ever been 
the only chosen people of God. None of them, I find, 
believes that the Jews ever had any spiritual monopoly of 
moral insight and creative energy. One Jewish English- 
man has expressed the sentiment prevalent among Jews 
to-day in these words : **In the later Rabbinic days it has 
never been contended that Jews alone make for spiritual 
regeneration. May I remind you of the Rabbinic saying : 
*The good of all creeds have an equal share in the world 
to come'? Could there be a more exquisite recognition 
that there are people of other faiths. who act for the benefit 
of mankind?" 

The two voices in the Old Testament are not equally 
frequent nor equally loud; that of the baser jingoism is 
far more insistent and frequent. The same thing is true 
in English literature. The other voice in Hebrew writings 
is a very still small voice and it speaks in clear tones and 
with uneqidvocal articulation perhaps only once. Hun- 
dreds of passages might be cited to prove that the Jews 
claimed a monopoly of the spiritual resources of humanity. 
I shall not quote them ; for I hate them as I hate the similar 
voices in England or in Germany; but the still small 
voice which is of infinite prophetic significance when it 
speaks with perfect distinctness is that which is heard 
in the 19th chapter of Isaiah, verses 24 and 25: ''In 
that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and Assyria, 
even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the 


Lord of Hosts shall bless, saying: Blessed be Egypt 
my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel 
my inheritance." This the Jews of to-day, the world over, 
recognize as the essential spirit of Prophetic Judaism 
towards the rest of the world. It should be noted that 
here there is no cosmopolitanism of the kind that overlooks 
or obliterates national distinctions. Here is true and vital 
internationalism, the recognition of all nations as coequal, 
coordinate, but separate spiritual entities. The Lord, here, 
is the Lord of Nations, not simply of individuals. Israel 
is still a Holy Nation ; but only the third with Egypt and 
Syria. The Socializing Spirit of humanity has formed 
Israel; but the prophet here knows that to that Spirit 
Egypt its people is equally blessed, and equally blessed is 
Assyria the work of its hands. 

I have said that Mr. Houston Chamberlain can present 
a plausible defence of his charge of spiritual arrogance 
against the Jews. But his argument is only specious ; for, 
after all, the one and final question is : What is the senti- 
ment of representative Jews throughout the world to-day ? 
So far as I have been able to receive answers, and I have 
not been without adequate opportunity, I am certain that 
no educated Jew to-day denies that Israel is only one with 
England, America, China, Japan, and some fifty other 
nations; and that the same Holy Spirit which calls Israel 
its inheritance blesses America also as its people and China 
as the work of its hand. If I am wrong in saying that 
every educated Jew in America is a Jewish American, I 
am sure that before long after the publication of this book 
my error will be brought to my notice by American 
Jews. But any Jew denying that Egypt "my people" 
and Assyria "the work of my hands" are equally 
blessed along with Israel, would prove an enemy of his own 
race and his own religion. He would play into the hands 
of the antisemites Uke Sombart and Chamberlain. He 


would confirm their judgment that the Jew is spiritually 
race-proud, a religious egoist, or a would-be monopolist of 
ethical insight and redemptive energy. 

4. Jews must declare their Attitude 

Some two years ago, after reading Mr. Chamberlain's 
indictment of the Jews, I preached at the Ethical Church 
in London on the question: "Is the Jew a Menace to 
Western Civilization?" I said that the answer wholly 
depended on whether the Jews living to-day do really claim 
a spiritual monopoly of moral insight and energy, or not. 
If they claim such a monopoly, they are a menace to the 
religious originality and autonomy of every nation in which 
they sojourn. But if they recognize that Egypt and Assyria 
are equally with themselves manifestations of God, then 
they are not a menace to Western civilization. I took the 
position, however, that it was for the Jews themselves to 
say which of the voices in the Old Testament they followed, 
and that it was not for me to declare. And I suggested 
that, in the face of the strong antisemitism which boldly 
expresses itself in Germany and which mutters under its 
breath in some circles of America, the Jews of our day 
should loudly and xmequivocally demonstrate to the Gentile 
communities about them what their inward attitude is 
towards the spiritual equality of other nations. 

I regret that there has been no adequate attempt on the 
part of the Jews to make their present attitude on this 
question felt throughout the world at large. But at least 
for my own satisfaction, as a result of my individual in- 
quiry, I am convinced that no educated Jews of to-day, 
anywhere, lay any claim to be the only nation begotten of 
God. It is not enough, however, that here and there an 
individual like myself should be clear on this question; 
and if the Jews themselves, from any sensitiveness or pride, 


refuse to educate the Gentile world opuceming their present 
attitude of mind, it would seem tiu^Ltlien, on a matter of 
such universal importance, individutfCientiles like myself 
should do their best to remove the odsunderstanding. It 
must be remembered that the Gentile world has from the 
beginning of the Christian era been inoculated with the 
idea that the Jews were the only chosen people of God. 
They have taken the Jews at the self-valuation of the 
race as appraised by the louder but now repudiated voice 
that speaks in the pages of the Old Testament. The Jews 
of to-day, therefore, cannot much blame the Gentiles for 
believing that the descendants of Israel are spiritually 
race-proud and still think that no other nation can compare 
with them in religious, moral, political, and economical in- 
sight; for it requires a very careful searching of the Old 
Testament and a close listening for its finer voice to detect 
any other utterance. I myself should never have heard 
the voice that speaks in verses 24 and 25 of the nineteenth 
chapter of Isaiah except for the scholarship of Canon 
Cheyne, who, in his notes on Isaiah, directed me to it. 
And if I mistake not, Canon Cheyne speaks of this passage 
as a very wonderful and strange utterance, which has no 
parallel in more than a thousand years of Prophetic ut- 
terance and of literary editorship. 

If any reader is of the opinion that in devoting a chapter of 
'^The Soul of America" to the Jews I am giving the ques- 
tion an altogether undue prominence, I would refer him to 
Mr. Houston Chamberlain's reasons for devoting upwards of 
two hundred pages of his " Foundations of the Nineteenth 
Century " to the Jews. He counts the Jews a menace, I 
count them a blessing, to every nation of the West ; but 
the facts which he gives in apology for assigning them so 
conspicuous a position hold good with one who counts their 
influence salutary instead of sinister. For in any case their 
influence is becoming very great. The mere numberSi 


2,ocx>,ocx>, I believe, in a population of 9o,ocx>,ocx>, would 
seem to indicate that the Jews in America are a negligible 
quantity; but it must be remembered that 2,000,000 
people who stand by one another in friendly aid, who have 
a common tragic past, who have inherited also mental 
vitality and will power without parallel, and whose intel- 
lectual genius has been specialized both by artificial selec- 
tion and by social tradition in the field of finance, may be 
more than equal to 20,000,000 individuals unorganized in 
purpose and anaemic in brain power. The Soul of 
America, if her spiritual resources are to be conserved and 
developed, will need the organizing genius of the Jew as 
much as the hatUe finance of international capitalism has 
required it. It must also be remembered that the con- 
servation of the spiritual resources of a country will require 
as much financiering and as large an investment of capital 
as would the conservation of its natural resoxirces. But 
it also must not be forgotten that among the Jews there 
are in this day, as there were in ancient times, two types 
of genius, the financial and organizing type, and the ethical 
and spiritually quickening type. In America, xmless the 
great misunderstanding of Judaism which has led, to the 
ostracism of the Jews be continued, the religious type of 
Jew, with his prophetic passion for economic justice and 
domestic fidelity, will be called in to supplement the pre- 
dominantly inward and transcendental idealism of the 
Christian tradition. Ancient Judaism stood for justice; 
historic Christianity has stood for love and faith ; but, in 
the religious synthesis of the twentieth century in America, 
these two will unite ; and a balance of the outward and in- 
ward aspects of moral experience will now be attained, 
such as has never before been manifested in the sentiment 
and practice of any nation. 


5. Mr, Zangwill not ExplicU Enough 

I reiterate that in the bringing about of the required 
synthesis of Christianity and Judaism, the first step must 
consist in the removal of the notion from the Gentile mind 
that the Jew of to-day is spiritually arrogant. Unfortu- 
nately, in all that I have been able to read of the writings 
of the most humanistic and catholic Jews of our time, I 
have found no sufficiently unequivocal repudiation of the 
claim to spiritual supremacy over all the other peoples of 
the world. For instance, even Mr. Zangwill, whom I 
know to be not obsessed by any such illusion of race egoism, 
in his brilliant and passionate paper delivered in 191 2 before 
the First Universal Races Congress in London, never quite 
meets this point. His language squints and might in some 
passages imply that the finer Jews still believe themselves 
to be the only medium and missionary of a righteous 
social order and an ultimate unification of mankind. In 
one place he says: "The soul of the Jewish race is best 
seen in the Bible, saturated from the first page of the Old 
Testament to the last page of the New with the aspiration 
for a righteous social order, and an ultimate unification of 
mankind, of which, in all specifically Jewish literature, the 
Jewish race is to be the medium and missionary. ^^ A critic 
like Mr. Houston Chamberlain would seize upon this sen- 
tence and say: "There, you see the Jew as I depict him 
illustrated even in a modernist like Mr. Israel Zangwill. 
Does not Mr. Zangwill confess without shame, if he does 
not even boast, that the Jewish race counts itself to be the 
one and only medium and missionary of the ultimate imi- 
fication of mankind ? He practically says the Jew thinks 
his race has a monopoly of spiritual power, that is, of the 
ability to imify the human race and establish the reign of 
righteousness." Now, of course, I know, and every one 
who is acquainted with him knows, perfectly well that in 


Mr. Zangwill's judgment the Jewish people have no such 
spiritual monopoly. Mr. Zangwill sees, as clearly as I do, 
that Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were as 
great moral geniuses and unifiers of the human race and 
builders of the ultimate righteous order as were the Isaiahs, 
Ezekiel, Jeremiah, or the editors of the Book of Deuteronomy. 
But if this is so, then America is equaUy with Israel a 
medium and missionary of the unification of mankind. 
Yet Israel did not produce America ; and the moral genius 
of Washington and Lincoln cannot be traced to the in- 
fluence of the Old Testament upon them any more than 
each succeeding genius among the ancient prophets was the 
product of the preceding geniuses. For the essence of 
originality is that it is the direct and immediate mouth- 
piece of an excellence prevailing immediately around it 
and forming, as Froude says in the passage which I quote 
elsewhere, the environment in which it grows. America 
may be more like the ancient Jewish theocracy, I have said, 
than any nation in the interim between them; but let 
anybody read the Book of Deuteronomy and then read 
the Constitution of the United States and of the several 
States ; and, if his judgment be impartial, he will feel that 
to trace America to Israel would be to convict oneself of 
obsession by an idie fixe. Nor could such an idie fixe 
obsess any one who was not the victim of racial self- 
deification. Yet because such self-deification has been ex- 
pressed in the Bible, and ever since by the vulgar jingoists 
of Israel, exactly as it has been expressed by the vulgar 
jingoists of America and of England and of Germany, it is 
essential that the finer Jewish patriots should be quite un- 
equivocal in rejecting the lower patriotism ; just as every 
American, the moment he speaks of his country, is in duty 
boimd to guard himself against what could be interpreted as 
national self-conceit and egoism. This duty which I am 
urging upon the Jews is one which the finer patriots of every 


other nationality are scrupulous in fulfilling. They should 
prefer to give no expression to Semitic sentiments than to 
be mistaken for the vulgar and rampant counterfeit. Mr. 
Wells says that in America patriotism is now little else than 
cheap flag-waving ; yet the opposite to this is not a shame- 
faced silence, but an overt branding of it as counterfeit. 

If the modernist Jew says that it is preposterous that 
he, whose politically independent State was annihilated 
some 600 years B.C., should be required to explain what 
sort of patriotism his loyalty to his ideal nationality is, I 
reply that it is by no means preposterous. The deepest 
insult that one nation or the survivors of one nation can 
give another is the denial that it, too, is a medium and 
missionary of the ultimate unification of mankind. A dis- 
tinguished American Rabbi has recently said : "The most 
menacing foes of Israel are not the brutes and ruffians who 
inflict physical hurt upon her sons and daughters, but the 
more subtle and insidious creatures, such as Sombart and 
Chamberlain, who out of their minds evolve the creature 
which they call menacing Israel." In the spirit of this 
most discriminating utterance, I would say that the most 
menacing foes of America would not be the brutes and 
ruffians who inffict physical hurt upon her sons and daugh- 
ters, but the more subtle and insidious creatures who, by 
claiming to be themselves the only medium and missionary 
of the ultimate social order, would thereby insult the 
Soul of America by denying the divinity of its power and 
of its xmique spiritual task in the world. 

The present-day champions of Judaism must remember, 
fxirthermore, that while every other nation in the world 
has been tainted with a strain of vulgar jingoism, no other 
nation's cruder self-deification has ever taken the form of 
the highest insult to other peoples — the claim to a spiritual 
monopoly ; no other nation's jingoists have claimed a right 
to supremacy and the sole initiative in the imification of 


the human race. England pretends no such thing. Ger- 
many does not dream of that form of self-worship. Indeed, 
the arrogance of all other peoples has been of a far more 
materialistic order. But a materialistic national pride is 
merely that of brutes and ruffiansi and does not inflict the 
deepest and most fatal wound. 

6. An Injury wrougfU by one of the Voices in the Old 


I maintain that spiritual originality has been checked at 
its sources for two thousand years in all the nations of the 
West, exactly as musical creativeness in the Jews, according 
to Weismann, was compelled to lie absolutely dormant 
from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in the first 
century to the beginning of the nineteenth century. 
The Jews hung up their harps by the waters of all the j ,^.\/\,rt 
rivers of Christendom, because they were forbidden to sing. ■ / 1, ^ ^ / 
During all these centuries of terrible oppression, throughout ^^ ,'.^ 
the ghettos of Europe, they gave evidence neither of musical 
appreciation nor of musical creativeness. Through all this 
period, they were not even conscious themselves of the 
faculty which their artificial social environment prevented 
them from exercising. But, the moment the Jews were 
liberated in the nineteenth century and allowed to come 
into contact with the formative musical atmosphere of 
European culture, they began to manifest a keener musical 
appreciation than did the people of any other ancestry and 
also a far greater and higher average musical productivity. 
Christendom had breathed a blight which, as it were, atro- 
phied these splendid psychic gifts of the Jews for two thou- 
sand years. In the same way, the idea, so often reiterated 
in the Old Testament by the spurious representatives of 
Judaism, that no other people but the Jews were spiritually 
elect of God has paralyzed the latent power of spiritual 


prophecy in the soul of every Western nation for two thou- 
sand years. I have just said that Washington and Lincohi 
were equal in moral genius to any of the Hebrew prophets, 
but I did not overlook the fact that they were barred out 
from the sphere of religious insight and utterance by the 
two thousand years of Christian-Hebrew tradition, and thus 
their genius was compelled to work on lower planes of 
himian interest and to minister to needs below the highest. 
It should be fully conceded to the Jews that, thus far in 
the history of the West, they have been preeminent in the 
mission, on the religious and spiritual plane, of the righteous 
social order and the ultimate unification of mankind. But 
why is it that the other nations have not equalled them 
in the sphere of religion? I answer, without hesitation, 
because that spiritual arrogance of the meaner Jewish 
patriots, which is now dead and universally repudiated by 
educated Jews, has breathed a blight over all the nations of 
the West. These nations, having accepted the Jews 
at the spiritual self-valuation of their religious jingoists, 
have quite logically, instead of relying upon their own 
spiritual initiative, looked wholly for light to the Jews — 
to the Old and New Testament. The result is that the 
whole of Christendom has been thus far, in religion and in 
all matters spiritual, a parasite to the Jews. It is this 
parasitism which now every lover of every nation of the 
West must end, by extracting the initial falsehood that 
caused it, the deadly microbe that has paralyzed the 
highest spiritual centres of the brain of every Christian 
nation. And I feel that it is the duty of educated Jews to 
assist the idealistic patriots of all other nations in ridding 
their coimtries of the false notion that the Jews have ever 
had a monopoly of religious genius. Mere history must 
not browbeat us ! The nations in religion must now 
become superhistorical ; we must begin an era without 
parallel or analogy in the past. 



I. The Importation of SpiriPual Wares 

It would be a sin against the Holy Ghost of America 
that fanatics from other countries should be allowed to 
overrun her territory and introduce ideas, political, econo- 
mic, domestic, or religious, that give the lie to her Consti- 
tution, her historic development, and the great personalities 
who have lived and died to save her from disruption. That 
she herself should feel no alarm at the moral prejudices, 
the vices and blindnesses, the ignorance and superstitions 
of the hordes she annually welcomes to her household, 
would be, to say the least, a short-sighted levity. As if 
the market value of the merely physical strength of her im- 
migrants were to count with her, and their standards of 
conduct and character were to be treated as a negligible 
factor ! As regards the importation and exportation of 
material commodities, free trade may at times be expe- 
dient and even necessary; but when we turn to consider 
spiritual wares — ideas, doctrines, disciplines, habits, moods, 
and purposes — we see that the only policy consistent with 
national autonomy must reserve the right to exclude. 

What is true policy, however, for America must be 
equally valid for every other nation in the world. China, 
for instance, has a right, and it is her duty to herself, to 
say what religious propagandists she will admit into her 
territory. Often in recent history countries have been em- 
broiled in misimderstandings and even in bloodshed, 
through the interference of foreigners with the religious 



beliefs and practices of the people of the East; and the 
time must soon come when Western nations will not permit 
their subjects to go as missionaries to foreign lands imless 
they are wanted there, nor to indulge in spiritual encroach- 
ments any more than in territorial aggressions. 

But this question as to the moral interference of one 
nation with another is more intricate and involved than 
would seem on the surface. Often at the root of the inter- 
nal imrest of a nation is a spiritual protest arising from 
a new vision of a higher moral order ; then the conservative 
ruling classes, who are enemies of internal progress towards 
democracy and social justice, are prone to call in foreign 
powers. These, it is true, do not send missionaries, but 
soldiers ; and yet they abet the spiritual violation of great 
masses of men by coercing them into submission and con- 
formity. This was the case when, in the middle of the 
last century, the effete Manchu dynasty in China called 
in the British Government to suppress the Tai Ping Re- 
bellion. Then it was that General Gordon, with his blind 
mystic sense of duty, lent himself as an instnmient to the 
powers of darkness. The recent Revolution in China, 
which to-day all the nations of the earth respect as a mani- 
festation of the awakening self-consciousness of an ancient 
people, should have come about sixty years ago. The 
leaders of it know and have publicly announced why it 
was not feasible then but has proved so now. They tell 
us that fortunately there is no General Gordon now to check 
the spiritual and political self-realization of the Chinese 

As regards material wealth, the universal policy im- 
plied in the dictum, "America for the Americans,'* may 
or may not be a sound one. I would not even advocate 
" America for Americans " in respect to intellectual resources. 
But the inverse proposition, "Americans for America,** 
involves a principle universally true and always applicable. 


We must see the wisdom and justice of the aphorism, 
"The Chinese for China"; for if not for their own land, 
for what cotmtry would they be? We cannot say, "My 
coimtry, right or wrong" ; but we must admit that when 
our country is wrong, that is just the time when the citi- 
zens are most bound to set it right, not to separate them- 
selves from it and leave it in the lurch. One's country 
being right, one may not be needed and might be excused 
from duty; but my coimtry being wrong calls to me. 
When our private friends violate our principles and stand- 
ards, we may be at liberty to drop them ; but to wash our 
hands of our cotmtry's stain is to stain them. 

The dictum, "Americans for America," does not deny 
the larger truth that America must exist for all hmnanity. 
It is illogical to maintain that patriotism is necessarily 
national egoism ; for the moment you universalize the prin- 
ciple of patriotism, you affirm ihe equal inviolability of 
all organic units of national life. 

But the advocate of universal patriotism, that is, of 
the virtue of loyalty towards each nation by its own sub- 
jects, is confronted in the sphere of spiritual interests by 
cosmopolitanism on the one side and on the other by 
sectarianism. Of the latter I shall speak at length in a 
future chapter. Here let me point out that cosmopolitan- 
ism manifests itself in five different forms, four of which 
are highly organized and have been directed with consum- 
mate astuteness. They are : Roman Catholicism, the lower 
form of Judaism, Marxian Socialism, and the International 
Finance-Peace movement. The fifth form of cosmopoli- 
tanism is that vague but widely diffused sentiment (rather 
than an integrated enterprise) which is usually spoken of as 
"humanitarianism." Every one of these tendencies denies 
the ethical right of a country to exist as an autonomous 
unit of spiritual life, and overlooks the patent fact that 
each recognized nation is practically a self-contained 


psychic sphere and as such deserves respect. They all 
aim to obliterate and paralyze the spiritual autonomy of 
nations. In the last chapter I have shown that the lower 
form of Judaism is obsolescent and no longer a menace 
to any nation. I therefore need not discuss it further. 

2. Individualistic Humanitarianisfn 

Let us here begin by considering that abstract philo- 
sophical feeling which is sympathetically summed up in 
the saying of Thomas Paine: '*The world is my cotmtry, 
and to do good is my religion." Now, except in the vaguest 
sense, it is not true that the whole world is any man's 
country ; for the whole world is imorganized, and it never 
will be unified except by a federation of nations; and if 
there are no nations to federate, there will be no imiversal 
coimtry. It is not a fact, and cannot be, that a German 
or an Italian or a Chinaman, in his own country, is just 
as much to you, an American, in your own country, as your 
compatriots are. Undoubtedly, you wish your fellow- 
mortals of every nation well; but they are not interde- 
pendent members with you of the same economic, political, 
and spiritual organism. Try as you will, you cannot know 
them and feel with them and serve them, physically or 
morally, nor can they you, as would be possible if you were 
all members of one economic and psychic whole, with 
traditions of cooperation and with a common opportunity 
and destiny. The needed multiplicity of points of contact 
fails you in your relations with a human being who lives 
in another historical and social environment. Very few 
are the benefits, even of science and invention, that flow 
spontaneously from one country to another. Science is 
not automatically cosmopolitan, as is often declared; 
American scholars themselves import German science into 
America; or, if it is not the scholars, it is the capitalists 

. — .4^1= ■" 


or the statesmen that do so. Science does not pass from 
one country to another of itself, but moves in response to 
a call. 

It is passing strange that, while the rank and file of 
sentimental humanitarians would discount nationality, 
and boast that every man should train himself to act without 
the mediation of his nation, as if he were a citizen of the 
world, the two greatest philosophers and prophets of the 
unity of the human race in the nineteenth century — 
Auguste Comte and Giuseppe Mazzini — were both na- 
tionalists. Both maintained that, exactly as the family 
is the cultural group through which a man's country plays 
upon him, so every man's country must be the mediator 
for him if there is to be any communion between him and 
humanity as a whole, or between him and individuals in 
the outlying groups of humanity. Mazzini, who preached 
the brotherhood of all men, preached first and foremost the 
brotherhood of all Italians. These, until Italy could be 
restored, could not perform their function in the universal 
fraternity of nations. Auguste Comte, who set up 
Humanity as the object of religious worship, had so pro- 
found a sense of deference for every nation that he looked 
beyond our period of empire-making tyranny to an age 
when each aspiring nationality, however weak and poor, 
would be allowed place and scope for self -development. 

It might be well also in this connection to call the atten- 
tion of persons who have not sojourned in foreign lands to 
the fact that nothing so demoralizes character and destroys 
individuality and the capacity and achievement of service 
for one's fellow-men as the cultivation of the cosmopolitan 
spirit — the training of one's affections and interests so 
as to be no more directed towards one's own country than 
towards any other. Of all the amorphous characters in 
the world, none are so disintegrated as those of the isolated 
individuals who feel equally at home in any land, and who, 


boasting that they belong to every nation, really belong to 
none. They have not the virtues of the French, nor the 
Italians, nor the English, nor the Americans ; but they tend 
to acquire the vices of all, plus an incoherency into which 
the stay-at-home workers of any people never degenerate. 

The ethical law here undoubtedly is that if a man detach 
himself from his own land, he must forthwith begin to 
attach himself to the redemptive trends in the life of some 
other nation. Wherever he be, he dare be neither pleasure- 
seeker nor spectator ; and in proportion as he sojourn long 
in any country, he must permit his whole being to be in- 
fluenced by those needs and aims of the new country which 
command his reverence. And if any person move from 
country to country, it shall be only when his object is self- 
equipment and self-education, to be ultimately offered 
at the altar of some one nation. When once we respect all 
organic imits of spiritual life, and understand the rela- 
tion of individuals to these, we see that there is no neces- 
sity that a man shall always serve humanity only through 
the land of his birth; but wherever he be, that land 
shall he serve. A man may expatriate himself, intending 
from the first to devote himself to another nation either 
for a time or for his whole life. If it be for the latter, 
then even a complete transference of political allegiance 
would be inevitable and wholly consistent. The policy 
in the interests of all mankind must be not retrospective 
and conservative, but radical and forward-looking. A 
man owes himself not necessarily to the country where 
God did place him, but to that country *'to which it 
shall please God to call" him. At all times, next in 
sanctity to the god of his own land, must appear to any 
man the gods of the other nations of the world. 

But, of course, a metaphor which implies a plurality 
of gods is inadequate. The Formative Spirit in any one 
nation is ultimately identical with that at the heart of 


every other. It is iinder Humanity that the nations find 
scope for their individuality. Indeed, the nations are 
but so many forms in which Humanity fulfils herself, and 
without which the manifoldness of her creative energy 
could not be revealed. 

The common-sense fact, however, must never escape us 
that practically and normally a shifting from nation to 
nation can be but a rare occurrence, and that even such 
immigration as America permits, and Europe takes ad- 
vantage of, will in a few generations be a thing of the past. 
There is reason to think that himoianitarian pity in the 
United States, instead of welcoming from Russia the poor 
whom the Czar casts out, will take the form of compelling 
the Czar to be hiunane, even in his own territory, to his 
own subjects. There will be less and less difficulty in exer- 
cising compulsion upon Russia, and it will be still easier 
to constrain the less powerful governments of the world. 
More and more, then, men will remain in the service of 
the land of their birth. And this will prove only a blessing. 
For the nation is naturally and rightfully the character- 
building school of the individual ; and, other things being 
equal, a change of schools is no gain. 

The sentimental hiunanitarian overlooks nationality 
not only as the character-building school of the individual, 
but also as the most conspicuous upward trend of hiunan 
history in a thousand years. He fancies that the main 
current of progress has been towards the transcending of 
national self-consciousness, and he therefore condemns 
patriotism as a vice instead of extolling it as a virtue. He 
is apparently so Uttle skilled in concrete thinking that to 
him an increase of conscious solidarity among all men as 
human beings argues a proportionate decrease of the spirit 
of nationality ; and this in spite of the fact that it is by and 
through and because of the growth of national conscious- 
ness and the intercommunication of nations as nations that 


the very sense of universal humanity has itself developed. 
I have no space here to trace the protest of nationalities 
against the dominance of the Roman Empire and the 
Catholic Church. I must rely lipon the historic informa- 
tion of my readers ; but I would for a moment briefly call 
attention to the solidification of awakening nationalities 
during the last two decades throughout the whole world, 
the East as well as the West, and to the growth of general 
htmianitarian sentiment as an accessory to this uprush 
of nationalism. 

Recently Norway expressed by plebiscite her desire for 
self-government, and was permitted to dissolve her politi- 
cal partnership with Sweden. Portugal is another instance 
of the coming to consciousness of spiritual autonomy in 
a nation, in that she, by changing her form of government, 
asserted herself against the spiritual aggression both of the 
Church of Rome and of the royalist parties throughout 
Europe. Those who know the facts say that Portugal 
would have become a republic a generation ago, had it not 
been that foreign monarchies brought pressure to bear 
against her internal self-expression. 

Indeed, that movement which began with the reawak- 
ened consciousness of the modem Greeks and led to the 
restoration of Greece to a place among the nations reap- 
peared in the enthusiasm of the makers of modem Italy, 
and triumphed in Norway and Portugal ; it is now asserting 
itself with magnificent poise in Finland, and is on the 
verge of victory in Ireland. There is no sign anywhere 
of a growing anti-nationalistic cosmopolitanism that can 
compare with the power of the national spirit evidenced in 
the recent awakening of Japan and Turkey, in the revolu- 
tion in China, and the prophetic unrest of India. 

But I have said enough to show that between the spirit 
of true humanitarianism and of nationality, instead of an 
antagonism, there is a vital and organic unity of purpose ; 


only in this unity the nation is the primary and creative 
factor, humanity the derived and dependent result. On 
this account, the individual men and women of the whole 
worid have a stake in the spiritual self-realization not only 
of their own, but of every nation on the earth. 

3. ^^Five per Cent. Bonds of Peace** 

Wars may be condemned from two points of view. From 
the one, every individual human being is counted so holy 
that no institution, no social group, no principle or idea is 
worth shedding any one's blood for. This attitude of mind 
found its most influential protagonist in Count Tobtoi. 
Wars are wrong because they involve a sacrifice of human 
lives; it is nations as political units that wage war, and 
therefore all governments are at enmity with men. 

The leaders of the so-called International Peace Move- 
ment continually defend their cause from this point of view. 
In so far, they condemn patriotism as a vice, and they 
would sacrifice the idealism of nations to the interests of 
peace. They are champions of that form of cosmopolitan- 
ism with which I have already dealt at length. 

Here, therefore, I need only call attention to other mo- 
tives which are dominant in the Peace Movement, and 
which masquerade as hiunanitarian and altruistic, but 
which at heart are really commercial, and emanate from 
and appeal to the financial greed of individuals. These 
self-interested supporters of cosmopolitanism oppose war 
in the interests of trade, and they back anti-patriotic 
sentiments, because national self-consciousness, if not 
beaten down, might sacrifice commercial interests, in order 
to maintain the existence and the integrity of national 
unities. They proclaim a new and newly discovered factor 
that tends powerfully to prevent war between nation and 
nation. That factor is the increasing international invest- 


ment, during recent years, of private capital. How can 
England upset the conunercial interests of her own subjects 
in Turkey or Russia or Germany by warring agamst these 
countries ? So we are to find in our foreign investments a 
motive strong enough to prevent our injuring another 
people. The advocates of this Norman Angell argument 
cite as parallel the influence of domestic conunerce in pre- 
venting civil war. But just at present this beautifully 
specious analogy is rudely shaken by what is going on 
in Mexico. The citing of Mexico, however, proves 
something still more to the point — a something positive 
as well as negative. Foreign investments in Mexico 
for thirty terrible years suppressed the civil war which, 
in the interests of justice and honour and humanity, ought 
to have been allowed to break out there at the very fijrst 
inception of that Peace of Slavery and Fear and Shame, 
which Diaz established. 

To prevent rebellion on the part of the oppressed of any 
country, in order to secure the dividends of foreign capital- 
ists, is an idea which 6nly a bom criminal can entertain 
without horror. Law and order within any one land must 
never be judged as a good until you have looked beneath 
it and seen what it is that wails and mutters there. Peace 
for the sake of oppressors is the devil robed as an angel of 
light. In the same way it would seem that no one can 
prejudge whether international peace in any given case is 
relatively a good thing. We must first find out that no 
money power is causing some entrapped nation to be bled 
to death. A war of China against England, when 
the opium traffic was introduced, would have been 
infinitely more ethical than the smiling, shameless peace 
that prevailed, pandering to the sensual manmion of inter- 
national trade. 

It cannot, of course, be denied that the wide-awake self- 
interest of private capital invested all over the world will 


sometimes secure peace. The White Slave traffic, for in- 
stance, is international ; it ships its goods most discreetly 
to foreign lands, and a war would disturb the even tenour 
of its ways. It, accordingly, would throw in its dead and 
deadly weight on to the side of peace. But some things 
which peace abets are worse than bloodshed. It must be 
proved, therefore, on other grounds, that the foreign in- 
vestments of a private profit-monger are good for races, 
sexes, and nations before we dare give our sanction to the 
peace they engender. It may be wiser to cast in our 
influence with those who see the greatest hope of true 
and final peace in the awakening of the classes in every 
coimtry who have no land or capital, and who maintain 
that every one who means to get rich without serving 
society by hand and brain is a dangerous enemy to those 
wars that ought to be, and to that peace which is not 
gagged despair. 

It is self-evident, then, that "five per cent, bonds of 
peace " are not to be trusted. The motive of conunercial 
greed will advocate peace only until war would serve its 
ends better ; and yet if one studies the oratory of the leaders 
of the Peace Movement, one notes that next to sentimental 
himianitarianism is set up this foreign investment of private 
capital as an argument in favour of peace. So prominent 
and so closely interwoven are these two individualistic 
motives that an impartial observer is forced to declare 
that the Peace Movement, so far as it trusts to international 
capitalism, has no right to call itself international ; it would 
be glad to dispense with nations altogether, so that dividend- 
seeking capital could flow unchecked from land to land. 
It would disintegrate mankind into individual atoms, be- 
cause it is the mental clash of social group with social group 
that sometimes precipitates bloodshed. Now, such a polity 
is an enemy of civilization, which is identical with socialized 
life. In my judgment, the Peace Movement, with its eye 


on foreign investments, is a counterfeit. We cannot sur- 
render the psychic integrity of nations merely in order to 
avoid wars. 

There is another point of view from which war can and 
should be condemned. A true Peace Movement would be 
nationalistic. It would find out what organized interests 
within each nation make for war ; it would insist that all 
Governments become champions of economic justice the 
world over, because private greed is the War God. There is 
not too much patriotism, but too little of the right sort. 
A true Peace Movement would educate the masses of the 
people, and especially the statesmen and politicians and 
voters of all countries, in the higher functions of nations. 
It would identify religion with the patriotism within every 
nation, and beat out of existence all those commercial 
private enterprises which for the sake of higher dividends 
are hostile to the moral consciousness of nations. The 
true inspiration to peace must be one and the same with 
the motive that would lead men to die rather than permit 
a foreign power to annihilate their own nation or to practise 
outrage upon a neighbour. It would say with Mrs. 
Browning, in her *Xasa Guidi Windows" : — 

I love no peace which is not fellowship, 

And which includes not mercy. I would have 

Rather the raking of the gims across 

The world. . . . 

Such things are better than a Peace that sits 

Beside a hearth in self-commended mood. 

And takes no thought how wind and rain by fits 

Are howling out of doors. . . . 

What ! your peace admits 
Of outside angxiish while it keeps at home ? 
I loathe to take its name upon my tongue. 
'Tis nowise peace. 'Tis treason, stiff with doom, — 
' Tis gagged despair, and inarticulate wrong, 

. • .. ■» - 


Annihilated Poland, stifled Rome, 

Dazed Naples, Hungary fainting 'neath the thong, 

And Austria wearing a smooth olive-leaf 

On her brute forehead, while her hoofs outpress 

The life from these Italian souls. . . . 

O Lord of Peace, who art Lord of Righteousness, 

Constrain the anguished worlds from sin and grief, 

Pierce them with conscience, purge them with redress. 

And give us peace which is no counterfeit ! 

4. The Anti-nationalism of the Church of Rome 

The anti-Catholic feeling is spreading rapidly and 
deepening in intensity among the non-Catholics of America. 
I shall not enter into the question of the relative merits of 
Catholic theology, discipline, and influence, as compared 
with those of the various Protestant denominations. For 
the purposes of my argument, the whole of ultimate reli- 
gious truth and goodness may be on the side of the Catholics. 
Even if this were so, however, their allegiance to a foreign 
bishop and their denial of the spiritual autonomy of Amer- 
ica is a sociological heresy so deep and vicious as to 
more than offset the worth of any abstract spiritual truth 
of which they may be the depositary. From my point 
of view, at least for the purposes of my argument here, 
America may volimtarily adopt the whole of the Catholic 
system of redemption, minus the "Roman." The ques- 
tion is not: To what conclusions will America come in 
matters religious? but: Shall they not be the result of 
her own free, independent, and deliberate insight and re- 
flection ? She must be true to the moral genius of her own 
soul; but, if she is this, her Catholicism cannot possibly 
be Roman. Her Pope cannot possibly sit at the Vatican. 
Her cardinalate must consist of Americans, chosen demo- 
cratically, territorially, from America alone by American 
Catholics. It is not at all a question of the Seven Sacra- 


ments ; it is a question as to where the final seat of authority 
in matters spiritual for the people of America shall reside, and 
from what himian source it shall spring. I speak not as a 
Protestant, but as a himianist ; I speak as one who knows 
what a mighty curse it has been to Italy that so great a 
part of her organizing and moral genius has been drained 
off from attention to the higher needs of Italy towards the 
keeping up of a world-wide cosmopolitan organization. If 
there ever is to be a World-Church, it will not be Roman any 
more than American or German or British. It will have its 
spiritual centre in no historic territory, but will manifest 
a diffused sovereignty with centre everywhere. It will 
consist of a federation of nation-churches, coordinate and 
recognizing absolute local autonomy in matters spiritual. 

I foresee only calamity of a direful order for America 
if she opposes the Roman Catholic organization on the 
groimd that Protestantism is truer than Catholicism. The 
one hope for the spiritual unification of America, as regards 
this Roman Catholic controversy, is that all American citi- 
zens, Protestant and Catholic alike, shall be educated, 
drilled, and steeped in the doctrine of national idealism as 
the essence of true religion. The crux of the question is 
not what the religion of America shall be, but who shall 
dictate it. Were it not for the overpowering influence 
of America in moulding the sentiments and habits of all 
her citizens, I should share the alarm of the extremest anti- 
Catholic fanatics. But there is one Church mightier than 
Rome in the United States, with a still greater organizing 
genius and an infinitely closer opportunity; and that 
one Church is America herself. You can be a Catholic ; 
but you cannot be a Raman Catholic and at the same time 
be in spiritual life a true and loyal American.^ , • 

It is just possible that when the hierarchy of Rome re- 
alizes tJie situation, it will, with its consummate instinct 
for self-preservation, transform its whole political struc- 


tiire so that the Catholic Church shall cease to be cosmo- 
politan, and become truly international, reorganizing 
herself so as to permit all the Catholics of America 
to have complete local autonomy, both as regards the elec- 
tion of officers of the Church and as regards the choice of 
forms, ceremonies, and creeds. She may become demo- 
cratic; but if she does, then the final authority in the 
Church will henceforth rest in an international coimcil elected 
by nations from among the Catholics of each. This, how- 
ever, is a very far-off vision ; no one need entertain it ; but 
there is occasion most energetically to condemn every 
trend in the Roman Catholic policy which does not make 
for the spiritual autonomy of all the Catholics of America, 
in order that they may become simply one of the many 
patriotic religious groups which coimt themselves as nothing 
more than a means towards the spiritual integrity and 
perfection of the United States. 

So long as American schools are supported and controlled 
by the various States, and so long as the Protestant de- 
nominations omit to preach the doctrine of the identity 
of true religion with the higher patriotism, the Roman 
Catholic propaganda in America will be a menace to the 
nation; but the moment the idea spreads that America 
is primarily a spiritual and not a mere political or com- 
mercial unit of social life, that moment the Roman Church 
will have to deal with a Church which will tolerate no dic- 
tation from any hierarchy of which the seat is in Europe 
and of which the long tradition has been predemocratic 
and prescientific. The Roman Church must be placed 
on the same basis as any other importer and retailer of 
spiritual wares from abroad. But America's policy must 
not be one of destructive attack upon the Roman hier- 
archy, so much as one of constructive development of her 
own native insight and character. When once America 
knows herself to be a church, the Church, she will ordain 


a thousand priests of democratic humanity to every 
emissary whom the Roman Catholic hierarchy can intro- 
duce. Then, the Roman spiritual jingoism would soon 
become, as the Jewish jingoism has already become, a 
thing of the past in America. 

5. The Danger of AtUi-fHUrioHc Socialism 

Marxian Socialism is a menace to the spiritual autonomy 
of every nation. It must be pointed out that while it uses 
the term "international," it means by it only "cosmopoli- 
tan." Its followers do not believe in nations, and there- 
fore have no idea of an intercommunication of autonomous 
nationalities, either economic or moral. The Marxian 
Socialists hate patriotism. They proclaim the dangerous 
falsehood that the interests of tiie proletariat in any one 
country bind its wage-earners more closely to the prole- 
tariat of other nations than to the middle and upper 
classes of their own nationality. As regards America in 
particular, their notion is grotesquely unlike the truth. Their 
assertion, moreover, is based upon the long-ago exploded 
error that every human being is solely and purely an eco- 
nomic, wealth-getting, or money-grabbing animal. We 
may well grant that, under the present distribution and 
ownership of property, there is an antagonism of economic 
interest between the wage-earners and the employing 
class ; and if to eat and have possessions were the whole 
of life, then it might be true that wage-earners all the 
world over constituted, so to speak, one nation, and the 
employing classes the other. But bread and butter is not 
the whole of life ; it ceases to be so for any family the mo- 
ment they are no longer starving. The working-men and 
employing classes of America must instantly see, if they 
stop to reflect, that they have a common life and ideal, 
a common sentiment, education, opportunity, and out- 


look, and therefore an identity of manifold interests ; and 
that, despite economic injustices, they in fact constitute 
one living, organic unit of psychic Ufe. It is therefore 
treason against themselves for the working-classes of 
America to claim a nearer kinship with those of Germany 
than with the middle classes of the United States ; and it 
would be not only moral death, but economic suicide, for 
them to carry out such a policy. Despite every clash of 
material interests, and despite the injustice of capitalists, 
the working people and employing classes recognize 
increasingly their conunon htmianity. Who preaches to 
the contrary either consciously falsifies facts or is blinded 
by some anti-nationalistic prejudice. 

Two characteristics of American life furnish us with an 
adequate disproof of cosmopolitan Socialism. First, the 
American proletariat does not need and knows that it 
does not need the cooperation of that of Europe in order 
to extort — if extortion it must be — from the employing 
class a communal ownership and control of the sources of 
the wealth of the United States and a fair distribution every 
Saturday night of the nation's income. However feeble 
American working people may be in intelligence and power, 
they are aware that they do not require intellectual any 
more than material support from the working people of 
other countries. The second fact that exposes the lie at 
the heart of Marxian Socialism is that the working people 
of America, when they are in bitterest antagonism with 
their employers, are educating and moralizing their em- 
ployers as well as themselves. Two men or two classes 
quarrelling with each other, unless their humanity be wholly 
obliterated, grow nearer in their sense of a conmion nature, 
and even in their moral influence upon each other, than 
two masses of working people simdered not only by thou- 
sands of miles of ocean, but by the whole difference between 
two separate historic atmospheres. What have men reared 



under Prussian autocracy in common with American work- 
ing people, except the thinnest and abstractest, most arti- 
ficial and enforced, identity of puipose ? 

It is significant that Marxian Socialism, with a contempt 
for nations similar to that of Roman Catholicism, likewise 
derives its policy primarily from that Jewish jingoism which 
among the Hebrews themselves is dying out. Karl Marx 
remained to the end a Jew of the lower type, in the sense 
that he had no respect for any Gentile nation. 

It is a marvel of self-contradiction that his sort of So- 
cialism should have incorporated into itself this ancient 
racial pride, inasmuch as it has everywhere made house- 
hold words of the phrases, ''the nationalization of land," 
''the nationalization of capital." At the same time that 
it has popularized these valuable terms, it has been in- 
sidiously imdermining the whole conception of the nation 
as the integral unit of social life. The very idea that land 
and capital should be nationalized points to national ideal- 
ism as the only possible spiritual philosophy to justify the 
new economics. And yet the Red Flag of Karl Marx is 
anti-nationalistic ! Down with the Stars and Stripes, and 
up with the Red Flag, to symbolize the solidarity of the 
proletariats of all nations I 



I. America not merely a Unit of Material Wealth 

Of all the ways to conserve and develop the spiritual 
resources of America, it seems to me the first is to preach 
in the churches, in the schools, in the homes, and in the 
Press that America is primarily and essentially an organic 
spiritual being. The notion must be beaten out of 
men's minds that she is preeminentiy a great material 
and wealth-producing entity. Any one will appreciate 
what I mean in insisting that America shall be regarded 
as an organic sphere of spiritual life, who has a family — 
a wife and children of his own. Such a man, if he be con- 
scious of his higher responsibilities, is aware of his home 
as a spiritual organism, as a psychic sphere of influences 
environing not only him and his wife, but especially his 
children. The mother and father guard with a jealous 
alertness the very possibility of the intrusion of any adverse 
moral influence, through servant or neighbour or friend, 
into the sanctifying sphere for which they are responsible. 
Their home is no doubt at the same time an economic and 
a biological unit ; but what mother and father would not 
resent the insinuation that it was primarily and supremely 
this ? My contention is that the hope of America, even as 
an economic and biological factor in the world's history, 
will be henceforth dependent upon the recognition of her- 
self as a spiritual organism which is to be jealously and 
unceasingly guarded against influences from within or 
without that might lower her standards, corrupt the peo- 



pie's taste, bias their judgment, and weaken or sidetrack 
the General Will of the nation. I have in an earlier chap- 
ter explained the spiritual resources of a nation as meaning 
a sense among its citizens of the power and reality of the 
ideal order which the nation must embody if it is to fulfil 
its true destiny. But lest I shall seem to mean something 
very abstract and remote from the concrete fulness of 
life when I say that a nation is a spiritual organism or 
psychic sphere of creative energy, let me add here that 
the ideal order includes more than simply the moral charac- 
ter and responsibility of a people as a Puritan interprets 
the word moral. Besides the ethical sphere of the ideal 
in this sense, there are also the scientific and the aesthetic 
spheres. And I wish to aflSrm that for the American people 
America is the formative sphere of creative power in the 
domain of all forms of art and science as well as of morals. 
If America be not this, then Americans will have no art 
appreciation or originality in art creation. Or if America 
be a very anaemic sphere of formative art energy, then her 
citizens will suffer proportionately. They will be crude 
in aesthetic discrimination and appreciation and her cities 
will fail to constitute what is called an art atmosphere. 
As a result her artists for inspiration and illumination will 
go abroad ; and they may possibly be tempted to remain 
there, lest, returning, they should suffer the anaemia preva- 
lent among their fellow-citizens. This law of the identity 
of the aesthetic spirit of nationality with the creative art 
atmosphere that environs any individual applies not only 
to music, painting, sculpture, and architecture, but to man- 
ners, speech, and literature. Let us consider here the last 
only. It is always the nation as an organic unit of spiritual 
life that stamps its qualities, both content and form, upon 
its literature. If anything in the world be Russian, it is 
the books of Tolstoi and Dostoievsky. A literary artist, 
in proportion as he is a genius, is one sensitive to and ex- 


pressive of the contemporary trends of his own nation's 
life. As far as the artist himself is concerned, it is only 
an accident if his books hold the mirror up not only to his 
own nation, but to the contemporary life of other peoples. 
Dostoievsky, in **The Idiot " and " The Brothers Karam- 
zov, " is not only Russian through and through'^in the kind 
of characters and of society he depicts, but equally in the 
style and structure of these books. They are Russia her- 
self revealing her own soul. I need not multiply instances, 
but the law of the dependence of literature upon nationality 
is universal. 

This fact that only the genius of a nation, stream- 
ing into the sensitive will of the individual artist, creates 
great art is well stated by Froude in the opening 
chapter of his ** History of England," where he says : "We 
allow ourselves to think of Shakespeare or Raphael or of 
Phidias as having accomplished their work by the power 
of their own individual genius; but greatness like theirs 
is never more than the highest degree of an excellence 
which prevails widely around it, and forms the environ- 
ment in which it grows. No single mind in single contact 
with the facts or nature could have created out of itself 
a Pallas, a Madonna, or a Lear ; such vast conceptions are 
the growth of ages, the creations of a nation's spirit ; and 
artist and poet, filled full with the power of that spirit, 
have but given them form, and nothing more than form." 
So essential is it to the literary creativeness of a people 
that the literature they study shall be the output of their 
nation's own soul, that it is almost as fatal for a people to 
read the literature of another country in the way America 
has hitherto read British prose and poetry, as it would be 
for them to read none at all. The same calamity that has 
befallen America by accident of history befell ancient 
Rome. The very proximity and dazzling splendour of Greek 
poetry and philosophy overbore whatever native genius 


and originality in literary expression the Roman people 
began with and might have developed. Happily, in another 
sphere of purely idealistic creation the soul of America 
has found original expression and has manifested her 
individuality — that of scientific invention. In American 
inventors there is a imique blend of expert knowledge in 
the specific sciences with originality in discovering the 
laws of the universe and at the same time applying that 
knowledge and those laws to the exigencies of material 
and social life. I have already cited, as men typical of this 
peculiar genius, Edison and Luther Burbank. Science, 
if anything is so, is cosmopolitan; its atmosphere more 
than any other transcends and overarches and imifies 
all the civilized nations; yet no one can be acquainted 
with the scientific methods and spirit of Germany, England, 
and America without conceding that, despite the trans- 
national intercommunication of science, Germany is one 
formative sphere of scientific incentive and fertility; 
England, another ; while America is equally distinct from 
both. But I have said enough here to illustrate the ful- 
ness, scope, and reality of the truth that America is an 
organic unit of ethical, scientific, and aesthetic life, and that 
to develop her idealistic resources, she must be awakened 
by direct instruction and challenged into responsible con- 
sciousness of the fact that she is such a generating organism. 

2. America the Living Church of all Americans 

The second means of conserving her spiritual resources 
is to teach that America herself is the living church of 
which every citizen, whether he will or not, is an active 
member. He may be a bad member and the church itself 
may be far from perfection ; but the fact that every citi- 
zen is spiritually dependent for his character and for his 
standards of manhood upon the psychic influence of his 


nation is undeniable ; and the responsibility of the nation 
for the individual and of the individual for the nation is 
unescapable. It can be avoided only by death or by ex- 
patriation; and even this latter means of escape is not 
efficient. For whithersoever he flees, he enters into another 
living church, another nation, and becomes of it an active 
member, either for weal or woe, and enters into a new sphere 
of duty. 

To say that America is the church to which all Americans 
belong is something more than to say that she is the forma- 
tive sphere of spiritual influence in which they all live. 
For the word church links up the idea of the national sphere 
of spiritual influence with that of religion. The word 
•church is the name of that specific kind of society the bond 
of which is religion and the practice of which is worship — 
praise and prayer. In urging, then, that the nation her- 
self is the living church of her citizens, I am advancing to 
the position that national idealism in the hearts of the 
citizens is in the nature of worship, of religious praise, and of 
that sense of spiritual communion and dependence which 
inform prayer. 

Furthermore, when it is taught that America as the 
standard-bearer of her own ideal is the church of which 
every citizen is an acrive member, her citizens' eyes will 
be opened to the fact that she is really doing in a very full 
and powerful way what the various religious denominations 
within the land can only possibly achieve in a minor and 
most subordinate, although necessary, manner. Indeed, 
it becomes apparent that everything which the sects 
themselves accomplish must somehow be assigned to the 
nation itself ; for they are a vital and organically dependent 
part of the nation, even though their discipline was im- 
ported originally from abroad and although, in some in- 
stances, they continue to be manipidated and dictated to 
by foreign authorities. In all the sects the moral spirit 


is impregnated with the genius of the nation. What is 
more, if we were to take even the devoutest member of the 
most exclusive religious denomination and trace the in- 
most qualities of his soul — his yearning for truth, his 
craving for beauty, his longing for holiness — to its social 
sources, we should find that for one impulse which he had 
received from his special denomination, he had received 
ninety-nine which the nation would have commimicated 
to him even if that particular denomination to which he 
belonged had not existed. When we make a psychic 
analysis of an American's moral, intellectual, and aesthetic 
values, we find it difficult to discover whether he had been 
a Methodist instead of a Baptist, or an Episcopalian instead 
of a Congregationalist, or whether he had been a member 
of any professedly religious communion; but it is by no 
means difficult to discover that he is American and to de- 
tect even whether he were American-bom as well as reared. 
But the spiritual dominance of the nationality in general 
is in no wise impugned by the fact that the immigrant or 
the child of the immigrant is not exclusively the offspring 
of the soul of America. For whatever in the child is not 
derived from America is nevertheless traceable to some 
other nation; it is therefore, forever and everywhere, 
nationality. Nations are always the formative environ- 
ments from which special characteristics of the individual 
have been engendered. And of the things American in 
origin within the soul even in the sphere of religion, it will 
scarcely ever be found that the individual has derived 
more instruction and edification from the discipline of his 
own denomination than from those of other religious or- 
ganizations. Nothing has in contrast with England struck 
me on recent visits to America more than the fact that 
through the newspapers all the ideas of the newest organi- 
zations in religion are communicated to the citizens at 
large. I meet no American, though he be an Episcopalian 


or a Calvinist, that has not been forced by the newspaper 
into an acquaintance with the method and message of Mrs. 
Eddy and been challenged to think more about the truth 
and falsity of Christian Science than about the tenets of 
his own religious commimion. Equally have the ideas and 
sentiments of Spiritualism, through newspaper publicity, 
pervaded all homes and exercised an influence even when 
they have been rejected. America herself by her daily 
press mothers "freak religions"; but also in more subtle 
ways she foster-mothers even such historic importations 
from abroad as Anglicanism, Roman CathoHcism, and 
Judaism. Whoever knows by close comparison the differ- 
ences between the Episcopal Church in America and the 
Established Church in England knows that America has 
had infinitely more structural influence upon the Episcopal 
Church in America than the Episcopal Church, with its 
less than a million adherents, has had upon the soul of 
America ; and many who are close observers of the func- 
tional life of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America 
think they have reasons to believe that within a decade 
or two it will become far more Americanized both in char- 
acter and in conscious aim than it has been hitherto. De- 
spite, also, the utmost efforts of the Vatican, the Catholic 
Church in America is becoming less and less Roman and 
more and more Americanized. Why, then, should not all 
the denominations wake up to the fact that the one real 
and living Church to which all their members belong is 
Aiperica herself, and that all the denominations are but 
so many distinct congregations attempting to interpret 
her and serve her? 

It was recently my privilege in New York City to sub- 
mit the idea that America herself is the church to which 
all Americans belong, to a company of liberal ministers of 
religion. I went on to say that America should hold 
the same place of preeminence in the religion of Ameri- 


cans as Israel had occupied in ancient Judaism. I argued 
then, as I am doing here, that the indwelling moral genius 
of the Jewish people, the will of the race as it pressed forward 
in creative yearning to fulfil the nation's innate destiny, 
was the reality which the Jews called Jahweh, and was 
their God. In the same way, I pleaded that the moral 
destiny of America as it was foreshadowed in her history 
and opportunity must be regarded by Americans as the 
living and inmianent presence of God. Among my audi- 
ence was a Jewish Rabbi of distinction, who in the confer- 
ence following my discourse replied to this effect: "No ! 
Israel, we must remember, was no mere ordinary nation. 
Her prophets and rabbis had from the first seen that she 
was a congregation of the Most High as well as a nation ; 
that she was, as her own prophets expressed it, the bride 
of God, the wife of God. Her God was far more than an 
indwelling socializing spirit ; it was a universal God. And 
the fact that she lost her political independence, but con- 
tinued as a theocracy to survive for five centuries and has 
since existed as an ideal community scattered over the 
face of the globe, proves that, with her, religion was some- 
thing more than the spirit of nationality and God than the 
indwelling genius of a race." When my opportunity to 
reply came, I met not only what the Rabbi had overtly 
said, but what he had also implied. I asked : "Who dare 
suggest that America is merely an ordinary nation ? You 
have begged the very question which I have raised, in imply- 
ing that America is not just as much a holy people, a con- 
gregation of the Most High, as was ever Israel. My 
whole object is to induce people in the United States to 
view their nation in this light and set exactly this value 
upon her. I concede that Israel was the bride of God and 
that her prophets had the insight and the wisdom to think 
so and say so. But I at the same time maintain that for 
an American to acknowledge Israel to have been a bride 


of God and not to see that America must be kis bride of 
God is an abomination. The one unforgivable sin among 
the Jews was that any one of them should follow after the 
God of another people instead of their own. Why, then, 
should it not be equally an unpardonable offence in an 
American to transfer the highest homage of his soul to a 
manifestation of God in an alien people ? That each people 
should worship God primarily as the Redeeming Power 
among themselves is my contention. 

"There is no antagonism between a imiversally applicable 
nationalism such as I advocate and a recognition of the 
oneness of the spirit which is socializing each of the several 
nations of the earth. It is perfectly consistent ; just as it 
is, for instance, to say that the sunlight that actually 
falls on English soil and quickens vegetation there is not 
the same as the light that falls on the territory of the United 
States, and yet at the same time to affirm that it is one 
and the same sun that sheds its rays on all the surface of 
the globe. I ;am not denying that God is the God of Abra- 
ham, Isaac, and Jacob ; I am only protesting that it is 
morally preposterous for Americans to think of him in 
that way instead of regarding him as the God of Washington, 
Jefferson, Lincoln, and Wilson. It does make a great dif- 
ference whether a nation thinks of the Power it worships 
as the genius of another people more than of itself and as 
having directed their history more than its own. I am 
not denying that Israel was the chosen people of God; 
but I am urging that it is high time that the citizens of 
the United States shall count themselves as one of some 
sixty peoples now suffering and struggling on the face of 
the earth who are as much the chosen of God as was Israel. 
There is no shadow of jingoism or chauvinism or appeal 
to national vanity in the doctrine I am setting forth ; but 
I maintain that the notion prevalent throughout Christen- 
dom that Israel was in some imique manner or degree the 


chosen people of God has acted like a blight upon the spirit- 
ual originality of all Christian nations. That blight can 
never in my judgment be removed imtil each nation coimts 
itself equally with all others preordained, by its unique 
position and experience, to discover and contribute to the 
world moral truths, duties, and visions which no other 
people has had as good an opportimity to perceive and 
formulate. The Rabbi has further offered the fact that his 
nation survived the destruction of its political independence 
as a proof that its religion was far more than mere patriot- 
ism. To me that fact is the supreme proof of the opposite, 
that its religion was nothing less than patriotism. The 
Jewish State was destroyed ; but the spirit of nationality 
was able to survive, because it had been regarded as the 
most high, the most real, the eternal." 

But that the young men and women of America shall 
be brought up to regard her as the Church to which they 
belong will require a mighty reformation and transforma- 
tion in all the religious denominations of the land, — a 
transformation, however, that will make of them the great- 
est factor in the nation's total life, and will coordinate and 
consolidate them through the unity of their ultimate aim : 
the service of the nation as a spiritual organism. 

3. The Denominations as Parties in the Nation-Church 

The third means, then, of conserving and developing 
the spiritual resources of America is that all the religious 
denominations throughout the land shall make themselves 
the centres for the propaganda of the higher patriotism, and 
of the principle that the nation as a standard-bearer of 
the ideal is the Church in which each denomination is only 
a party, and that the God of the Christians, the Holy Spirit 
of the creeds, exists and acts here incessantly, and is none 
other than the imifying Soul of America. 


As one religious congregation after another adopts this 
modernist point of view, each will begin to modify its 
conventional phrases and ceremonies accordingly. The 
religious denominations will rewrite American history 
from the point of view of the evolution of social justice on 
American soil and will count American history and litera- 
ture sacred. This idea will also become incorporated in 
their canticles, hymns, anthems, and prayers, as well as 
their sermons. On one occasion recently when I gave 
utterance to this suggestion, an American professor of 
theology informed me that I was mistaken in thinking 
that such was not already the sentiment and custom in 
American churches, at least in those of the Congregational 
order. These all, he said, recognized and expressed the 
identity of religion with the higher patriotism in general 
and, for Americans, with loyalty to their own country in 
particular. In proof of his contention he referred me to 
the Pilgrim Hymnal. And, surely, the title seemed to 
furnish an argimient on his side. The word Pilgrim pointed 
to American origins ; and that was wiser and more sincere 
than if it had pointed to the deliverance of the Jews out of 
their house of bondage. In high hope of finding that my 
view of religion was already incorporated in the active 
gospel of one great American denomination, I hastened to 
purchase the volume that had been recommended to me. 
But, alas, I was doomed to disappointment. Except for 
the inclusion of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and 
"America" and one or two other hymns with vague allu- 
sions to this country, the book did not embody the idea of 
the identity of patriotism and religion in any place except 
in the word Pilgrim on the title-page and cover. I turned 
to the department of the book entitled "Responsive Ser- 
vices." They were all taken from the Old and the New 
Testaments ; and, so far as there was any reference to any 
cities, they were those of the Jews and of their enemies 


and neighbours. This hymn book is issued from the head- 
quarters of the Congregationalists on Beacon Hill in Bos- 
ton — Beacon Hill, from whence in more than one dark 
hour for humanity a light has issued forth to cheer the 
suffering and the oppressed. But in the Pilgrim Hymnal 
there was no mention of Beacon Hill; and, where one 
would have expected it, the hill spoken of was Zion ! Nor 
was there any reference to the streets and marts and slums 
of Boston, but only to the palaces of Jerusalem. I am by 
no means so much of a literalist that I cannot see and am 
not moved by the imaginative and poetic significance of 
Moimt Zion and the palaces of Jerusalem, even for the 
citizens of Boston; but I maintain that the reason we 
count Jerusalem and Zion holy is because the ancient dwell- 
ers there had poetic imagination capable of discerning the 
divine meaning and transcendent beauty of the very ground 
they walked on and of the sufferings and hopes of their 
own fellow-citizens. I maintain that the real significance 
and beauty of the Hebrew poetry cannot be rightly ap- 
preciated among Bostonians until Beacon Hill is as 
hallowed in their public worship as Mount Zion was by 
the Jews. 

The religious congregations of America must assxmie 
the task of educating the American public to deify the 
Moral Genius of the United States. It is the task of the 
churches to bring vividly before the imagination of the 
people the invisible glory and hidden meaning of their 
own responsibility and opportunity. 

From the Pilgrim Press on Beacon Hill I chanced to 
pass into the State Capitol, which I had not entered for 
twenty-five years. Strajdng into the newer part of the 
building, I found myself in a beautiful rotunda, restful in 
colour, dignified in proportions, and modest in size ; within 
niches covered with great panes of glass I saw the trophies 
of the Civil War, the bullet-riddled flags taken from its 


battlefields. Now I knew why this rotunda was called 
Memorial Hall, and my soul was thrilled with the deepest 
and most vivid memories of my childhood. While gazing 
at these historic battle flags of the Republic with eyes 
not undinmied, I observed the notice placed conspicuously 
on a card : "Honour the Flag by removing your hat." I 
obeyed gladly the conunand, but not without an added 
emotion of the sense of fellowship in my religious reverence 
for American history. I could not refrain, however, from 
asking myself, "Instead of always remaining here, why 
should not these sacred flags be brought into the religious 
fanes of the nation — into the buildings set aside for the wor- 
ship of the Most High ? Why should there not be in every 
church in the coimtry at least once a year a great Festival of 
the Nation, when the congregation gathering should honour 
the historic flags of the Union grouped about the altar? 
Would not such a festival be a means of bringing vividly 
before the minds of the worshippers the reality of the un- 
seen but eternal Meaning of American History? But if 
at the opening of such a ceremony there were to be a salu- 
tation of the flags of America, there should be before the 
close, lest America forget, another ceremony when the 
banners of all the other nations of the world would be 
brought in and borne to the altar and grouped about the 
sacred trophies of the Republic, to symbolize America's 
gratitude to all the other peoples of the earth for the repre- 
sentatives that for generations have been flocking to these 
shores as to the Promised Land, and to symbolize America's 
recognition of the equal sanctity and inviolability of all 
other nations." 

It should be noted that the change which I propose is 
not that churches in addition to their religious ceremonies 
should become institutional and as adjuncts of religion 
should group about themselves various secular activities. 
Such imdertakings never have strengthened the religion 

qS the soul of AMERICA 

of any denomination nor have they ever brought to the 
people whom they attract the thing they most need — the 
sense of the divine meaning within oneself and within 
the social opportimity of daily life. 

What I am proposing is the introduction of that sort of 
a national idealism into the church services which during 
the last thirty years has increasingly entered into and 
emanated from the universities of America, so that all the 
world knows of the fact and talks of it. Such an influence 
must now proceed from the churches, from their services, 
from the altar, from the pulpit and the pew. If I am wrong 
in affirming that the churches of America are not yet the 
centres of idealistic patriotism, it is astonishing that I can 
scarcely turn to a book on America without finding the 
statement that her universities are centres of a new civic 
enthusiasm, but that I search in vain for any such refer- 
ence to the churches. In Professor McCarthy's " Wisconsin 
Idea" is quoted the following from Professor Turner of 
Harvard : — 

"Nothing in our educational history is more striking than 
the steady pressure of democracy upon its universities to adapt 
them to the requirements of all the people. From the State 
universities of the Middle West, shaped under pioneer ideals, 
have come the full recognition of scientific studies and espedaUy 
those of applied science devoted to the conquest of nature, . . . 
all under the ideal of service to democracy rather than of indi- 
vidual advancement alone." 

There is no doubt that there has been just such a steady 
pressure of democracy upon American universities as Pro- 
fessor Turner declares, but no mortal who studies Pro- 
fessor Carroll's book on "The Religious Forces in the 
United States" can discover any analogous steady pressure 
of democracy upon the churches to adapt them to the re- 
quirements of all the people. What strikes one is the 

-i» -.X.. ■ — J««^*. 


astonishing imperviousness relatively of all the churches 
to the requirements of the people. It would seem as if 
democracy had not troubled itself enough about religion 
and religious organizations to bring its pressure to bear 
upon them. It is only in the slightest degree true that 
the religious denominations of the Middle West, for in- 
stance, have been shaped imder pioneer ideals. I have 
above asserted that America has more modified the churches 
than the churches have modified America, but I have in no 
way committed myself to the belief that America has done 
anything like what she might have done in this direction. 
This book itself is a cry to the churches to do what they 
might for America. The churches must accept as fully, 
heartily, and intelligently the whole method and spirit and 
results of modern science, and especially of applied science, 
as the State Universities of the Middle West have done, 
and turn the conquest of nature through applied science, 
to an infinitely greater degree than the University even of 
Wisconsin has done or has pretended to do, to the service 
of the Ideal Democracy rather than of individual advance- 
ment. But the universities have set an example towards 
the foimding of an American Kingdom of Heaven which 
the churches would be wise to follow. As far back as 
1883 President Andrew D. White of Cornell, speaking 
at Yale, pointed out that the hope of America lay in the 
American colleges and imiversities, and it was with uni- 
versities in mind and their professors, not of churches and 
their preachers, that he said : — 

Mercantilism, necessitated at first by our circumstances 
and position, has been in the main a great blessing. It has been 
so under the simple law of history. How shall it be prevented 
from becoming in obedience to such a law a curse? ... I 
answer simply that we must do all we can to rear greater fabrics 
of religious thought, philosophic thought, literary thought, 
scientific, artistic, political thought, to summon more and more 


yoiing men into these fields, not as a matter of taste or oppor- 
tunity, but as a patriotic duty; to hold before them not the 
incentive of mere gain or of mere pleasure or mere reputation, 
but the ideal of a new and higher civilization. ... I would 
have the idea preached early and late. 

It was the new patriotism of the universities that de- 
termined the careers of both President Roosevelt and 
President Wilson and made them representatives of a new 
type of American citizenship. It was from the colleges 
that the great movement represented in the 400 social 
settlements of America emanated. I speak here from per- 
sonal knowledge and reminiscence. The chief inspiration 
in America which I myself received in founding in 1886 
the first University Settlement in the United States, came 
from Professor Julius Seelye, who was then president of 
Amherst College and who had been my teacher in philo- 

There can be no doubt that the new conscience to which 
Mr. H. G. Wells so often refers in his book on "The Future 
in America " first became articulate in the colleges. "There 
is every sign," says' Mr. Wells, "that a great awakening, a 
great disillusionment, is going on in the American mind. 
The Americans have become suddenly self-critical, are hot 
with an unwonted fever for reform and constructive effort." 
Again he says, "America for the first time in her history is 
taking thought about herself and ridding herself of long 
cherished illusions." But this national repentance the 
country does not owe to revivals in churches ; it might be 
said rather that American colleges have become churches, 
while American churches have become imiversities of 
mediaeval learning. 

Now, this third means for developing the spiritual re- 
sources of the United States which I am suggesting is based 
upon the natural inadequacy of imiversities as such to meet 
alone the nation's spiritual needs. The efforts of the col- 


leges in this direction must be supplemented by an or- 
ganized undertaking on the part of the great profession of 
the teaching of adults as distinct from the teaching of mere 
youths and maidens. There are in the United States, ac- 
cording to the statistics of W. D. Carroll, in his "Religious 
Forces in America, " 110,000 professed ministers of religion ! 
Here are 110,000 men who devote their whole time (and 
earn their living thereby) to teaching, presumably, the high- 
est ideals of manhood and womanhood. It seems, therefore, 
an appalling indictment that no observer of social pheno- 
mena has traced the new awakening of the social conscience 
in politics and philanthropy to the ministers of religion. 
It would seem to me, however, that scarcely more would 
be needed to replace this sin of omission on the part of 
ministers by a magnificent record of service than the mere 
bringing home to the attention of preachers the splendid 
opportunity which the nation offers them. The higher 
patriotism requires at least 110,000 preachers who identify 
it with religion. Must the nation produce and subsidize 
another 110,000? If so, what is to become of the existing 
profession for the moral teaching of adults ? The ministers 
must be converted. Will not the teachers which the new 
patriotism will call forth make use of the one day of rest 
in seven and the traditional hours for the assembling of the 
people in the churches ? Then the churches will be opened 
every evening in the week for instruction, discussion, con- 
ference, and edification ; and throughout every day com- 
mittees and small groups be meeting in them to think out 
together and plan tiie great campaign for that development 
of the nation's spiritual resources which shall be able to 
sweep away forever the injustices and iniquities that now 
threaten the nation's health and life. 


4. A National Committee Needed 

But I have already anticipated a fourth (which should 
perhaps rather have been counted as the first) means of 
storing up the moral dynamic of the nation. It would 
seem as if some sort of a national committee should be 
formed for permeating the churches with that patriotism 
which Andrew D. White and others introduced into the 

In England was formed last year a Church Comprehen- 
sion League, the object of which is to educate the public, 
but chiefly the 50,000 preachers of religion, to the idea that, 
while religion is the service of the universal human ideal, 
the nation, being the individual's spiritual environment and 
sphere of duty, is the living church of every Englishman, 
and that the various denominations are the parties in the 
church. This League proposes, as the first means of edu- 
cating the public and the clergy to its idea, the sending out 
of leaflets, pamphlets, and books setting forth its principles 
and the appointment of special men and women to teach 
and preach throughout the coimtry the identity of religion 
with the higher patriotism. It would seem that a similar 
method of propaganda would be as natural and inevitable 
in America. It would involve the establishment of a na- 
tional conmiittee or league in which sympathizers, on the 
payment of an annual subscription, would become members. 
Out of such subscriptions and donations the expense of the 
publication of literature and the sending out of missionaries 
could be met. 

5. The God of Personal Salvation 

I cannot pass on to the next chapter, in which I shall deal 
with a fifth means of conserving the spiritual resources of 
America, without anticipating in the reader's mind an 

{action which is sure to arise if he has not grasped the 


total bearing of the thought. The idea that religion and 
patriotism are one and the same thing, whenever the re- 
ligion is soimd and the patriotism is high, is so unfamiliar 
and even strange that it naturally seems as if it must in- 
volve some great heresy. I therefore wish to point out 
that the kind of change which would be involved in religion 
would not involve the denial of any of the fundamental 
doctrines of theology, or the discarding of any of the clauses 
of the great historic creeds. The teaching of this book 
involves only the seeing of the old ideas in new relations. 
It is as if I invited my readers to view the old realities of 
their faith from a new point of observation. I ask them to 
shift from the individualism of the old (eighteenth-century) 
Protestantism to the vantage-ground of the new social psy- 
chology, and to view the old teachings of religion in relation 
to the interests of organic society. Nothing that I propose 
involves denial of the personality of the Creator or of a 
life after death or the doctrine of the Trinity or of the In- 
carnation. To say, for instance, as I have said, that the 
Holy Ghost in America is the socializing spirit of the nation 
is not to deny the Holy Ghost nor its manifestation as re- 
ported in the New Testament or as manifested in the 
historic Church. To say that America is the church of 
Americans goes counter to no historic creed or dogma. To 
say that the moral genius of America is God is by no means 
to deny that God is an infinite person. For I have not im- 
plied that the moral genius of America is not an infinite 
person. For anything I have said or anything that I 
believe, the moral genius of America may be a self-conscious, 
intelligent Will, infinite, and, in some sense or other, omni- 

It is possible, also, that some readers, because I have not 
yet pointed it out, may have failed to see another side of 
the teaching of this .book. Recently after I had been giving 
some argiunents in favour of the identity of sound religion 


and the higher patriotism, a clergyman present said that 
my interpretation of religion was preposterous, in face of 
the fact that to everybody else in the world except myself 
religion did not refer to these externals of national life, but 
to the holiest and most inward experiences in the depths of 
the individual soul. He said that to most human beings 
religion was a personal matter, and that in their private 
griefs and temptations they went to God as the strengthener 
and saviour of their own soul. Now what had such a God 
as theirs, he asked, to do with the socializing Spirit of a 
nation, with the Moral Genius of a people ? Let me antici- 
pate the like objection from some of my readers by giving 
here the substance of my answer to this clergyman. I 
said that I, too, in my duties as the head of an Ethical 
Church had been sought out as a spiritual adviser by many 
persons in their hour of deepest inward anxiety. It was at 
such time especially that I had foimd out the efficacy of 
my own faith and Uie adequacy of the God who is identical 
with the Indwelling Spirit of every social group drawn to- 
gether in devotion to the Moral Ideal. I tell those who seek 
my advice that they can find the power to resist temptation 
and to lift themselves out of their individual and private 
grief or shame or disappointment only as they identify 
themselves with the Quickening Spirit of some great re- 
demptive work for others. Let them enter into any great 
Social Cause which they believe in but have neglected, and 
they will find — I tell them so on the strength of my own 
personal experience — that their personal wounds will be 
healed, their very weakness transformed into unwonted 
strength. I warn them that there is no consolation for 
sorrow and no redemption from sin except as they identify 
themselves with some group of fellow-workers or as they 
themselves start out alone to redeem others. I tell them 
that the Spirit of Social Service is God, Christ, the Holy 
Ghost, or whatever they want to call it. I often give them 


the version of a well-known story in the "Buddhist Scrip- 
tures " which was told to me by an Englishman who himself 
passed a year with the Buddhist monks in their retreats in 
the moimtains of the East. According to this version, a 
woman who had lost her only son came to Buddha that he 
might cure her grief. He told her that this he could do 
if she would bring him a grain of mustard seed from any 
household wherein no loved one had died. She set forth 
on her quest. After many years the Buddha met her again 
and he questioned her about her grief. "What grief, 
Lord?" she asked, "I have no grief." She had even for- 
gotten her former anguish ; for, in her attempt to assuage 
the sorrow which she found in every household that she 
visited, she had not merely lost her own grief, but had 
found it transformed into some rare power to soothe the 
suffering of others. The Spirit of Social Service, then, is a 
quickening, redeeming God to the individual soul in its 
hour of weakness and despair. But this statement of 
mine is no heresy. The promise of the Spirit in the New 
Testament is not to the isolated soul, but only to the two 
or three gathered together. There, in the group — in a 
family, in a religious meeting, in a city, in a state, in a 
nation — there and there only, is the Power that keeps us 
from falling ! Let no one, then, cast any disparagement 
upon the Moral Genius of a Nation as if it were subordi- 
nate to or other than the God himself of personal 




I. As an Object Lesson and Laboratory 

The interpretation of religion here presented may, to 
some readers, seem so different from Christianity as ordi- 
narily imderstood, as to appear incapable of imf orced adop- 
tion by the historic denominations. Those who receive 
such an impression may therefore be inclined to conclude 
that ever3nvhere, side by side with the old churches, new 
organizations must be started if the new interpretation is 
to be incorporated into the creeds, sermons and prayers, 
rites and ceremonies of popular religion. But, in my judg- 
ment, the founding of a new sect upon the idea that sound 
religion and ethical patriotism are identical would be an 
error in policy fatal to the very object it wished to advance. 
There are already enough churches to serve the country's 
immediate need. In many towns and cities there is a 
lamentable overlapping, due to a refusal to cooperate 
merely on account of difference of intellectual interpreta- 
tion. It is not multiplication of religious centres, so much 
as co5rdination of propaganda, that is at present required. 
Let us, then, have no new sect. 

There is occasion, however, for having in the largest city 
in each State in the Union one new religious centre, where 
the sermons and all the items of public worship will be in 
harmony with the principle that America herself, as a spirit- 
ual organism, is the Church to which all Americans belong, 
and that God, in America, is the Historic Moral Genius, 
the Socializing Spirit, that would animate the nation. 



One such centre in a State would be able to disseminate 
the idea by illustrating it. As a result of its activities, in 
twenty or thirty years all the other denominations would 
have become familiar with its principle and policy and 
would have dedded for themselves how far to accept and 
incorporate the new forms and methods. 

Such a new centre of religious expression would appeal 
not simply to persons who have discarded the old creeds 
and forms, and not simply to those who have severed their 
connection with the old religious organization. On the 
contrary, the modernist members, both ministers and laity, 
of all denominations would welcome an experiment by an 
organization made up of those representatives of all the 
churches and persons of no church who stand for the re- 
ligious significance of the higher patriotism. 

One of the great difficulties in the way of gradual re- 
visions and new developments in religious forms and cere- 
monies is that nobody seems to have thought of making 
new experiments outside of all the existing church services. 
The result is that any preacher with new ideas has had 
no laboratory in which to test the effect of his new scheme. 
He has had first to convince his committee and possibly 
a majority of his members; and always with the risk of 
tiumoil and confusion, misunderstanding and controversy 
which are not in harmony with the spirit of worship. 
Scarcely any preacher, therefore, has ever been an inno- 
vator; and those who have dared to be exceptions have 
generally ceased to be ministers of religion. If experiments 
could be well tried and tested and the ceremonial embodi- 
ments of the new thought illustrated and demonstrated to 
be good, without in any way disturbing the even tenour of 
ordinary church life, then any one congregation, having 
participated in the demonstration which proved the beauty, 
dignity, and suitability of any one given item, could adopt 
by majority vote one innovation after another. Even 


such adoption might be only tentative — for a year or 
six months. Or it might be only permissive, not coercive ; 
that is, it might allow the minister or committee the liberty, 
at discretion, to introduce the item. Or some new feature 
whose worth had been tested elsewhere might be counted 
sufficiently valuable to be introduced once a year, but not 
oftener, or once a month or on special occasions. 

When it was clearly known that such a centre of public 
worship existed only as an object lesson and was of the 
nature of a religious experimental laboratory, it would be 
seen by the church-going public in general not to be a com- 
petitor, a new sect, or a rival. As a result, all those church 
members who believe that evolution in religious forms, 
statements, and intellectual interpretations should be en- 
couraged rather than opposed, at least those along the line 
of making religion of greater moral service to the nation at 
large, would support financially and would attend occa- 
sionally the centre of the new worship, in order that they 
themselves might participate in the experiment and share 
in the enthusiasm of aiding in any new discoveries or de- 
vices that would contribute to the spiritual deepening of 

2. Institutes for Religious Research 

I recently had the privilege of being shown over the 
Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, in New York 
City, and of talking with each of the great investigators 
there retained for the benefit of mankind. Ever since 
then, I have been haimted in imagination with the possi- 
bility of Institutes for Religious Research along similar 
lines. The ultimate object of such an institution would 
be the moral cure of souls, of cities, of nations. The 
methods would be those not only of experience, but of ex- 
periment, of test conditions, and of verification in religion. 
It is as possible to know that the effect of a religious meet- 


ing has been morally curative as to know that the effect 
of medical treatment has checked the disease and saved the 
patient. The past has preserved the testimony of thou- 
sands of patients who have had inexact experience of God ; 
but the true believers to-day all over the world are anxious 
for experiment in God. God must be placed beyond all 
possible scepticism ; he must be verified by the most rigor- 
ous methods. The time will come when to doubt his exist- 
ence and beneficent activity will be a proof either of per- 
versity of will or derangement of intellect ; for no church 
will teach an unverified and imverifiable God. 

Even the slight advances that have been made towards 
a scientific psychology of religion during the last twenty 
years have already strengthened all the churches of Chris- 
tendom. • Whatever elements of historic religion transcend 
all possible verification or go coimter to the results which 
have been verified, it has become quite manifest that re- 
ligion as a whole is well f oimded in human experience and 
can be explained, but will not be explained away, by scien- 
tific observation and test. It has become imdeniable that 
there are certain factors in experience not of the nature 
of hallucination or illusion which are denoted by the words 
God, Christ, Heaven, Hell. It has further been proved 
that some elements or other in prayer, in praise and worship, 
private or public, and in rites and ceremonies, have most 
beneficent moral effects upon all who participate in them, 
effects which never could have issued if religion had been 
a figment of fancy, or a deception imposed by priests. 
These great positive results favourable to religion have al- 
ready been attained, although as yet psychological inves- 
tigators have limited their attention almost exclusively 
to the one phenomenon of "conversion," which is only the 
starting point of religious experience and is often very ob- 
scure. Another crudity of psychological investigation up 
to the present time is that it has studied the individual soul 


in isolation, as I have criticised Professor James for doing. 
The Sociology or Social Psychology of religion has scarcely 
begun. The chief results of my own investigations in this 
field are presented in this book. 

Now the new synthesis which will link up reUgion with 
patriotism and God with the Spirit that quickens men into 
Moral Fellowship will enormously advance the cause of 
the churches, even while it induces minor modifications in 
rites and ceremonies, in the phrasings of religious utterance, 
and in the interpretation of ancient docimients. Espe- 
cially will this reSnf orcing of the churches, even during any 
period of changing forms, be sure to take place, provided 
experimental work be done outside of the regular denomi- 
nations and provided only those results which experiment 
has proved valuable be adopted into the historic places 
of worship. 

3. ArgumetU rendered Superfluous 

Let it not be supposed that scientific research for the 
finding of more effective forms and statements and of deeper 
meanings, will require any initial discarding of the religious 
experience and practice of the past. No science, in its 
beginning, is ever anything more than a development of 
common sense towards greater exactitude and scope. An 
institute for religious research of a constructive order, 
that is, in the interests of the moral health of the commu- 
nity and of its individual members, would be devoted to a 
psychological and sociological search for the mental as well 
as material causes of moral disease and to the creation of 
ideational influences, social and personal, that would 
strengthen and purify the civic and individual will. Nor 
could it conceivably fail to bear fruits for the healing of the 

It is also difficult not to believe that such an institution 
for religious test and verification must itself be of the nature 


of a church, that is, of a place of public worship. For it 
must be an institution which attempts to create a sense of 
the immanent reality of the moral ideal. It might, of 
course, carry on experiments in personal and private spirit- 
ual advice and in mental therapeutics ; but its chief work 
must be preventive and social and public. It must chiefly 
consider normal hxmian beings, that they may not through 
adverse influences become morally abnormal. The goal 
of all constructive religious research must be the creation 
of a spiritual atmosphere, without resort to unverified ideas, 
which favours the growth of such character as the nations 

In the past there has been far too much dispute and 
controversy concerning religion. But this has been because 
there has been almost no scientific experiment or test. 
The period of religious dispute will cease the moment that 
of constructive research begins. It is quite evident that 
mere logical arguments can lead nowhere, because we have 
not yet secured the facts upon which to argue. Mere 
argument is also inadequate, even after constructive re- 
search has attained most valuable results, to convince a 
person who has not himself witnessed and taken part in 
the experiment. Arguments based on demonstrations 
which one has not participated in oneself are as unsatis- 
fying in religion as in art. But arguments not based on 
any one's experience are of no worth. Suppose it is a ques- 
tion as to whether a play, which has never been seen by 
any one on the stage, will delight and entrance an audience 
or not. How can we ever settle the point except by pro- 
ducing the play on a stage in the presence of an audience 
and noting whether as a matter of fact it does delight and 
entrance them or not? New forms of public worship 
embodying new ideas are in the same predicament. Ar- 
gimients about them cannot possibly so excite the construc- 
tive imagination that it should supply details which any 


abstract reasoning must have omitted. We must suspend 
judgment imtil we have some basis for judgment. The 
testimony of others also can arouse the enthusiasm only 
of the very few who by precedent trains of thought and 
experience are already ripe. For instance, suppose my 
argiunents, which are based on experiments in new forms of 
social worship, have made it seem altogether plausible that 
it would be possible to conduct a purely humanistic church 
service and preach a sermon along the lines suggested by 
this book, which would create in all present a powerful 
sense of the reality and holiness of the ideal social order. 
This is what all the churches now attempt to create and 
in great part succeed in doing ; but most persons attribute 
the spiritual atmosphere induced to a supernatural and 
transcendent order of things. Suppose now that the ar- 
gument of this book either has or has not opened some 
minds to the possibility of creating the same atmosphere 
without any reference to the transcendent order of things ; 
let us further suppose, however, that the persons in question 
attend such a religious service as I am pleading for and 
observe that others are moved with a sense of the reality and 
redemptive grace of the moral ideal, and that even they 
themselves also feel its presence ; such an experience will 
have accomplished what no argument could achieve. 
Indeed, a demonstration by an object lesson renders much 
argument superfluous. It would therefore seem that while 
no new sect should be foimded, there should be established 
at suitable centres throughout the nation humanistic and 
nationalistic church services, so that all could see and 
know for themselves. Then, those ministers and congre- 
gations who foimd any items in the services congenial to 
their own thought and temper could introduce these at 
least tentatively. 

In a generation of such trial, with final acceptance or 
rejection, as experience dictated, there would gradually 


grow up a type of service and sermon which would be ex- 
pressive of the living conscience of our day. 

4. Creeds the Last Documents to be Revised 

I should like to point out that long before the ultimate 
creeds of any historic Church can be modified or set aside, 
it may be possible to revivify the whole of the sentiment 
embodied in h3mMis, anthems, readings from sacred litera- 
ture and sermons. It is also further possible that there 
will be no occasion for either restating or discarding any 
of the fundamental creeds of Christianity. Possibly all 
that will be needed will be a frank and avowed reinterpre- 
tation of these old documents from the hxmianistic point of 
view. But I deal with this theme in Parts 11 and III, and 
therefore need not dwell upon it here. I wish instead to 
illustrate in this chapter how a church service, incorporat- 
ing the idea here advocated, might become universally 
adopted in the course of one or two generations. Suppose 
the National Committee, which I suggested in the last 
chapter, for teaching the identity of Religion and Patriotism, 
besides issuing pamphlets and books, should establish in the 
chief city of every State an illustrative church service, to 
be held every Sunday morning and evening. The con- 
structive idea with which they would set out would be to 
create in the congregation a sense of the imifying spirit 
which animates any group of men and women who are 
drawn together in devotion to the human ideal. Their 
first object would be to make them One in vision, in heart, 
and in will. There might be many devices to bring about 
this unity and a realizing sense of it. But the device which 
has been adopted in hundreds of congregations of the his- 
toric churches is that which most naturally suggests 
itself for the beginning of the meeting. It is that at 
the very opening of the service all present should rise and 


stand and that the first word of the conductor of the ser- 
vice should not begm until there were perfect silence — 
not only an absence of noises but of restless motions. In- 
stantly and inevitably, everybody present would be aware 
of one Will, one Idea animating and controlling the various 
individual wills and intellects. There would spring up a 
sense not only of the two or three hundred present in in- 
dividualized bodily form, but of the "I" in the midst of 
them who is not only greater than each, but constitutes 
the inmost selfhood of each, — the social self of every 
one. Such an act in common, as that of each person 
standing in silence to listen for the opening words of 
the service, not only creates a sense of the Unifying and 
Over-arching Will but also of a mystic identity with that 
Will. The individual in rising contributes to it; he feels 
that he makes it, while he is also thrilled with the feeling 
that it is remaking and regenerating him. It is clear, 
then, that before a single word is said, so simple and natural 
an act has created a sense of the Presence of the Unseen 
Order, the Order of the Universal Will, the Will of the 
Social Whole, made up of individualized self-respecting 
units and yet greater than the arithmetical sum of them all. 
They are in it and it is in them, interdependent and in- 
separable ; yet the whole is felt by every one to take pre- 
cedence, in dignity and power, over each and over all 

$. The Liberty of Intellectual Interpretation 

1 am aware that any person may interpret this experi- 
ence as an evidence of the supernatural and the transcen- 
dent realm of Spirit, and in my judgment the liberty of so 
interpreting it should be denied to no one. I would only 
claim a like liberty for all those who have no love for meta- 
physical theories whatever, to accoimt for the Most High 


which they have experienced, and who ahnost regard the 
metaphysical habit as an impiety in the presence of the 
Divine Reality itself. They are quite ready to allow those 
fellow-mortals whose intellects crave metaphysical expla- 
nations, to indxilge in them ; but they resent, and rightly 
so (it seems to me), any spiritual or intellectual airs which 
the cravers for transcendent realities may assimie. I 
would also plead for a like liberty, with that of the meta- 
physicians and creed-makers, for those who are not satisfied 
with the simple, unexplained experience of the Divine 
Presence, but who crave only a scientific explanation. A 
scientific explanation, of course, in the ultimate meta- 
physical sense, explains nothing ; but it does coordinate the 
factors of one's spiritual experience and formulate the law 
of sequence. For instance, it is only a scientific, merely a 
psychological and sociological, explanation, when I trace, 
in part, the spiritual atmosphere of a religious meeting to 
the fact that all the individuals rise and stand in silence 
together with one direction of thought and heart and will, 
and when I posit the General Will of the Group as a factor, 
real in a scientific sense, as accounting for and justif)dng 
the belief in a Universal Self. This initial act on the part 
of a congregation of rising and standing in silence illus- 
trates the effect of all other acts in common by the congre- 
gation in inducing a spiritual atmosphere, and I need not 
therefore dwell at length on other details. 

6. The Contents of Things Said and Sung 

Here I will dwell only briefly upon the contents of things 
said and sung. I will purposely select illustrations which 
omit the words God and Christ or any of the terms which 
are common in Christian theology and are generally under- 
stood as referring to realities that are more than human and 
natural and are therefore called superhuman and super- 


natural. If I selected such phrases and declared that I 
knew by experience and experiment that they induced a 
spiritual atmosphere, I should fail to prove the point for 
which I am contending. But if I omit all of them and use 
in a religious service only sentences which refer to factors 
within universal moral experience and which no religious 
scepticism has ever dreamed of denying, but if, neverthe- 
less, everybody present experiences a still deeper intimacy 
of commimion and feels his will enlarged by a new influx 
of moral power, I have gained a scientific demonstration of 
the adequacy of mere references to the Socializing Spirit 
to redeem the members of any group, united in devotion 
to the ideal of the perfect. Suppose the words I select be 
these: — 

Let a man be of good cheer about his soul, who has cast 
away the pleasures and ornaments of the body as alien to him, 
and has followed after the pleasures of knowledge in this life, 
who has adorned the soul in her own proper jewels, which are 
temperance, and justice, and courage, and nobility, and truth. 

Immediately the great realities of the Universal Will, of 
which the words temperance, justice, nobility, courage, and 
truth are the accepted symbols, present themselves to each 
mind in the congregation, and begin to adorn the soul of 
each and, by their radiance, induce the good cheer of the 
spirit. Or suppose I say : — 

It is not possible to enter into the nature of the Good by 
standing aloof from it — by merely speculating upon it. Act 
the Good, and you will believe in it. 

Forthwith every mind present, which has come in good 
faith and has not with malice prepense set itself against the 
influence of the meeting, will move to enter into the nature 
of the Good and will predispose itself to act the Good. 
For each soul needed only to be reminded, in order to have 


its own moral faith reenforced. Or the sentences might 
consist of the following invocation to what I have called 
the Group Spirit : — 

Thou Soul of All in the soul of each, 
Blessed shall the nations be when thy glory is recognized, 
When all who love thee unite to succour and raise the weak ! 
We praise thee in thy power, thou Soul of our Souls, 

We praise thee in thy sanctity and thy wistful hopes. 
We praise thee, thou Dweller in the Innermost, 

O strength and secret nourisher ! 
No voice can duly proclaim thy majesty. 

No heart can comprehend thy glorious destiny, 
Thou Mother of all our spirits. 

A similar effect is produced when the following words 
are used: — 

Let not Moses speak to me, but Thou, O sacred Self of 
my selfhood, eternal Truth ; lest I die and bring forth no fruit ; 
being inwardly admonished, but not enkindled within ; lest the 
Word, heard but not followed, known but not loved, believed but 
not obeyed, rise up against me in the days to come. 

Or this : — 

The prophets utter commandments, but Thou, Spirit of 
Holiness, helpest to the fulfilling of them. They show the 
Way, but Thou givest strength for the journey. 

If all that is said in any one service be selected in rela- 
tion to the dominant idea that is to be presented in the 
sermon for the occasion, that idea would give unity to all 
the items in the service. The liberty on the part of a 
preacher always to select for each occasion whatever items 
will give supreme imity to the whole of the service, is in- 
dispensable, if the service is to exercise its full power upon 
the minds of the congregation. No prescribed forms, even 
though so beautiful and great as those of the Episcopal 


Church for Morning and Evening Prayer, can fit all sermons 
and can equally sxiit every occasion. It seems quite cer- 
tain, therefore, that within the next thirty years in America 
an ever increasing right of discretion will be left to the 
minister even of denominations which forbid extempo- 
raneous prayers. From hundreds of items approved by 
the church as a whole, the minister will be allowed to select 
those he thinks best fitted under the inunediate circum- 
stance. Nor can I avoid the conclusion that the illustra- 
tions which I have just given contain nothing out of har- 
mony with the spirit and purpose of the Episcopal Church 
and possess some mark which would upon occasion com- 
mend them to any minister of any denomination who 
was alive to the needs of his congregation and to the 
demands of modem life. Any person, therefore, attend- 
ing a service where any of these sentences were pronounced, 
if he had felt the power in them would, upon going away, 
become a propagandist of the new idea and would help 
create public opinion in the direction of a religion of nation- 
alistic humanism. By his propaganda he would be hasten- 
ing the day when every denomination will be ready to 
admit new forms and phrases expressive of the living 
habit of thought and of Uie conscience of our age. 

I have no space in which to cite the contents of further 
items in a purely humanistic service ; but I may point out 
the fact that every participant in such a service interprets 
all references to social life or to duty or to character, 
although expressed in universal language, in relation to 
the human world in which he himself immediately lives. 
All such utterances, therefore, have a reference to his own 
personal conduct, his own family, his own city and state, 
and, when he is an American, to the United States. It is 
not necessary, therefore, to be forever saying, "America, 
America," or ** Illinois, Illinois," or "San Francisco, San 
Francisco." All this will be understood, as the essential 


meaning of great literature always is in what it suggests 
rather than in what it literally expresses. Only occasionally 
need there be a direct naming of the immediate social 
group ; then, the very inf requency will enhance the eflfective- 
ness of the naming. There is, however, often a great power 
added to words, if the congregation know that the author 
was one of their own nation, and his life was identified 
with its history and that its history poured itself into his 
prose or verse. For instance, the congregation at the 
Ethical Church in London, England, sing with keen appre- 
ciation — it is one of their favourite hynms — the poem of 
Emerson's containing the stanzas : — 

Out from the heart of nature rolled 
The burdens of the Bible old ; 
The Litanies of nations came, 
Like the volcano's tongue of flame, 
Up from the burning core below — 
The canticles of love and woe. 

O'er England's abbeys bends the sky, 
As on its friends, with kindred eye : 
For out of thought's interior sphere 
These wonders rose to upper air ; 
And nature gladly gave them place. 
Adopted them into her race. 

They are grateful for the exquisite reference to Eng- 
land's abbeys; but I cannot resist the feeling that these 
words, of America's greatest philosopher and prophet of 
democracy, would find their way the more readily to the 
heart of an American congregation. 



I. A Voluntary National Church 

The separation of Church and State in America has 
thus far been a political necessity ; but, unfortunately, her 
citizens have drawn the wholly illogical conclusion that if 
it was necessary to separate the institutions of religion 
from the State, it must have been because religion has no 
vital connection with nationality. Colour is lent to this 
notion by the large part which supematuraUsm has played 
in theology, and by the close association of religion with 
belief in another world. But, despite the plausibility of the 
inference, I have shown that religions, in their great periods 
of creative and beneficent energy, have always been iden- 
tical with the souls of nations, and with the enduring in- 
terests of this world. At this stage of our argument it is 
only necessary that we bring to mind again the distinction 
of nation, State, and Church, and the relation subsisting 
between these three social entities. 

The State is the nation organized and acting with sove- 
reign power through its Government. Where a State 
does not imdertake certain enterprises, it may be only 
because it believes that they can safely be left to individuals 
and voluntary groups of individuals. The reason, there- 
fore, for the separation of Church and State need in no 
wise be that religion is not a mundane interest, and is not 
essential to the common weal. A nation's life is infinitely 
more rich and complex than that part of itself which is 

ganized under political government. My reader must 



therefore concede that the mere separation of Church and 
State can in no wise be taken as proving a separateness of 
religion and nation. 

Let me venture to point out, further, that the separation 
in America between Church and State is not so absolute 
as the ordinary language of Americans would lead one to 
suppose. I am alluding not to the indirect influence which 
powerful religious bodies may exert upon legislation, but 
to the fact that the State in America has throughout the 
coimtry the whole task of education. Now, any one 
accustomed to resolve the religious life into its sociological 
factors knows that, imtil the last century, throughout the 
world, the religion of a country has always been its system 
of popular education, and that in Christendom the Church 
has, imtil quite recent generations, organized and con- 
trolled intellectual as well as moral instruction and disci- 
pline. We may fairly say, then, that so far as the State 
has adopted education as one of its functions, it has taken 
over the work of the Church, and is in so far a Church- 
State. If it be retorted that such education as the State 
in America gives is not religious, the answer may be hurled 
back. Is it then education ? If it does not cultivate moral 
taste and direct the instincts and organize the sentiments 
to serve the great ends of national life, can it be anything 
but pseudo-education? — can it be really of ultimate 
benefit to the coimtry? And, if not, why should the 
nation lavish money upon it ? If the schools simply train 
the intellect to be a more efficient instrument of self- 
centred egoism, are they not turning the children into 
enemies of the State itself ? 

To return now to our general analysis: Whenever a 
State includes in its purview those activities of a nation's 
life which are called religious, we have a State Church. 
But there might be a highly developed and organized and 
unified national Church wholly aloof from the State. There 


might even be only one religious organization throughout 
the nation, comprehending all religious persons — and that 
a purely volimtary one. We should then have a national 
Church which was not a State Church. This would be 
possible where all the members of a nation were of one 
mind in regard to religious doctrines and methods; or, 
there might be nothing like imanimity of doctrinal opinion^ 
and there might be many separate groups standing for 
distinct philosophies and points of view; yet still each 
group might see the necessity of cooperating with others 
for the social and national ends which religion serves. 
Common loyalty to the nation might override differences. 
Each denomination might value highly the benefits of con- 
ference with persons of opposite opinions, and even prefer 
to submit temporarily to adverse majorities on special 
issues, rather than suffer the disadvantages of isolation. 

I have implied that the development of national idealism 
would require the organization into one voluntary Church 
of all the religious trends in the nation ; but I must qualify 
this sweeping statement. It is evident from the inherent 
nature of allegiance to a foreign bishop, that no national 
Church could find place within itself for a body pledged 
thereto. And on the other side, no organization in alle- 
giance to an alien hierarchy could consistently do any- 
thing but refuse to cooperate in a national Church. 

But if this is true of the Roman Catholic body, it would 
also be true of any community which should believe itself 
to possess a monopoly of spiritual insight, as some Jews 
have believed of their race. Self-excluded from every 
national Church would be the few surviving Hebrew 
jingoists and all Roman Catholics who had not become 
converted to modernism. 


2. A State Church Un-American 

The further fact ought to be again recalled, that even 
where there is not one voluntary organization embracing 
all separate religious groups, nevertheless the seemingly 
separate sects do reciprocally influence one another. The 
Episcopalians of America, for example, are not the same 
in their teaching as they would be, had there been no such 
thing as the New England Unitarian Movement, blossom- 
ing in Channing, Parker, and Emerson. 

We may therefore say that there always is a national 
Church where there is a nation containing groups of spiritually 
minded men and women devoted to the higher ends of hu- 
manity and not wholly uninfluenced, as groups, by one 
another. Just as we can speak of American architecture 
and American conmierce, although there is neither a State 
nor a voluntary organization of all the architectural or com- 
mercial interests of the country, so we may speak of Ameri- 
can religion and the American Church. In regard to 
architecture or commerce, however, so long as their pur- 
poses and technique and ideals are unorganized throughout 
the country, it is apparent that they cannot be developed to 
their highest degree. Any interest, if we take the point 
of view of the nation as a whole, must be greatly handi- 
capped in proportion as it is left exclusively to individual 
effort or to scattered groups in private cooperation. Like- 
wise, a nation's religion cannot at any period have advanced 
far beyond the degree to which there has been established 
an intercommimication of all the forces involved. 

As there is always a certain national spiritual unity, we 
may, as I have just done, imply that there is always a 
national Church ; for the nation is a Church. Yet because 
its growth is retarded by lack of organization and its 
energy checked by the notion that religion is not vitally 
boimd up with national life, we may, without being mis- 


understood, sometimes say of any coimtry that it has no 
national Church — meaning no coordination of all the 
religious efforts within it. 

For the sake of clearness in political thinking, it is for- 
tunate that we have the two words, nation and StatCy the 
only difference between the two realities indicated being 
that the nation is the whole life of a people, whether organ- 
ized politically or not, whereas the State is only the nation 
in so far as it is organized with sovereign power, levying 
taxes, passing laws, and enforcing them by means of a police 
and of an army and a navy. But it is most adverse to 
clearness in religious thinking that the word Church has 
to serve both for the imorganized national spiritual life 
and also for the religious organization, whether imder the 
State or volimtary, and whether national or sectarian. 
Despite this equivocal reference of the term, however, 
we can remain clear in our thinking if we bear in mind 
the great difference between a State Church and a Na- 
tional Church. There may be a National Church where 
there is no State Church, but also there may be a State 
Church which is not a National Church ; that is, there may 
be a religious organization established and endowed by the 
political Government, highly organized, centralized, and 
powerful, and yet it may by no means embrace all, or 
even the greater part, of the idealistic trends in the nation. 
Such a State Church would undoubtedly be a part of the 
National Church, and yet it would incontrovertibly be one 
of the chief causes hindering the coming into existence 
either of a voluntary National Church or of a truly national 
State Church. 

This is the present condition of affairs in England. The 
Established Church is not national. There is a National 
Church — because there is a nation — but it is still rudi- 
mentary; and perhaps the chief reason why the Nation 
as a Church is in such a backward stage of development is 


that the Establishment retards the co3peration of all the 
national religious forces. This condition of affairs can be 
denied by no one ; even those who believe in the existing 
Establishment deplore that in attempting to unify the 
nation it has disrupted it spiritually. They admit that it 
offends one-third of the population and never touches an- 
other third. Likewise, many Englishmen who advocate 
disestablishment of the present State Church do so chiefly 
because they see that it militates against England's becom- 
ing an organic unit of spiritual life. 

Happily for America it has no State Church professing 
to be national when it is not, and so preventing the advent 
of at least a volimtary National Church. 

Whether America will ever organize her spiritual life 
imder the sovereign power of the State is a question which 
we need not here discuss, because every one who knows her 
genius and tradition must agree that a national State 
Church, if it is ever to be established, ought not to be f oimded 
imtil after there had grown up a volimtary organization 
of all the religious groups in the nation. Moreover, even 
those who would bitterly oppose a State establishment of 
religion need feel no alarm at the voluntary imification of 
all volimtary churches ; for there is nothing inherent in a 
truly national voluntary church that would incline it to 
become a State Church. The only vital question, then, 
for America is the relation of the nation as an organic unit 
of spiritual life to the various religious denominations 
already in existence. 

3. Rdigioiis Parties versus Sects 

The theory that a nation, in so far as it reverences ideals 
and aims at their realization, is a Church does not in the 
least overlook the fact that there may be violent party 
strife among various religious groups. Nor does it even 


involve a disparagement or condemnation of such strife. 
A nation does not lose its unity in religion because of theo- 
logical controversies any more than it ceases to be a unit 
in civil life because of the antagonism of various political 
parties. On the contrary, the idea of a nation as a Church, 
far from favouring the suppression of religious differences or 
opposing discussion and the continual creation of new 
groups to advance new ideas, recognizes that ultimate har- 
mony, real uniformity of belief, and deep inward identity 
of insight and aspiration can never arise throughout a 
nation except by way of the freest and boldest expression 
and propaganda of every fresh sentiment. It is only by 
means of a struggle for existence among competing stand- 
ards and principles of personal and social life — it is only 
by experience and experiment, by trial and test — that a 
people can ever become able to select those ideas and 
standards which will really best serve the spiritual life of a 
nation. In our day, so patent has become the beneficial 
effect of religious freedom and of liberty to proselytize by 
moral suasion that before many decades priests and 
preachers will, I believe, accept discussion and democratic 
ballots on the first principles of religion as legitimate in- 
struments of spiritual advancement. They will coimt 
these devices equally sacred with private prayer and with 
meetings for worship and praise. Only by continual fric- 
tion of sincere intellect with intellect and by clash of devout 
character with character, can a whole nation ever come to 
see and rightly value righteousness, duty, and truth, and 
the means to the actualization thereof in life. When once 
the idea of the nation as a quickening sphere of spiritual 
power becomes prevalent, sectarian aloofness must fall 
away. Sects will cease to be sects ; each one of them will 
become a recognized party among the many within the 
nation as the Church. 
Our argument has now brought us face to face with a 


national danger — the idea which every voluntary religious 
group now entertains of itself, that it is a self-contained 
unit of spiritual life. This is the principle of sectarianism, 
in antagonism to which I wish to plead for such a reinter- 
pretation of the various religious denominations that they 
shall look upon themselves not as self-contained churches, 
but as parties in the one spiritual life of the nation. 

The doctrine of sectarianism stands seemingly at the 
opposite pole of thought to cosmopolitanism ; and yet the 
two are mutually compatible outgrowths of one and the 
same philosophy. Cosmopolitanism, as we have seen, 
denies that the nation is the spiritual unit of mankind ; but 
it carries with it no objection to the voluntary organization 
of private individuals into religious groups. On the con- 
trary, inasmuch as such groups, if they set themselves up 
as whole churches, deny that the nation is the living Church 
of all citizens, cosmopolitanism encourages them. Every 
advance in the organization of sects constitutes a corre- 
sponding decline in the spiritual self-consciousness of the 
nation. An American who thinks that the Methodist or 
the Baptist society is the real organic being from which his 
soul derives its sustenance, is naturally as jealous of the 
new philosophy which holds the nation itself to be his 
living Church as are the sentimental cosmopolitan, the 
individualistic champion of peace, the Marxian Socialist, 
the old-fashioned Hebrew jingoist, and the anti-modernist 
Roman Catholic. 

But while the sectarian looks with jealous antagonism 
upon the doctrine of religious nationalism, it must be noted 
that the attitude of national idealism towards sectarianism 
does not consist in the demand that private-enterprise 
churches should be disbanded. On the contrary, it is in- 
conceivable how national idealism could propagate itself 
except through the instrumentality of voluntary bodies 
of religious enthusiasts. All that the national idealist 


would ask of the various sects is that they should link 
themselves up in thought and purpose with the spiritual 
life of the nation as a whole, and become its glad servants. 
In other words, its demand is that the sects should cease 
to look upon themselves as sects — that is, as self-contained 
spheres of spiritual energy, imderived from any larger 
whole — and that they should regard themselves rather as 
so many participants, both dependent and determinant, 
in the life of the nation as the one true Church. 

The distinction between a religious sect and a religious 
party has been almost wholly overlooked. Yet this dis- 
tinction is vital to the adoption of a policy that will lead 
to the spiritual xmification of a nation. The pecuUarity of 
a party as distinct from a sect is that it never withdraws 
and stands aloof from its antagonists. It knows that it is 
not self-feeding, nor is it ever self-centred. It knows that 
for it to hold aloof would be its death. A party always 
sallies forth and presses forward in order to grapple and 
wrestle with opposing parties. The policy and the philoso- 
phy of parties is to meet face to face and contend — bitterly 
if you will, but always with the hope of changing the an- 
tagonist into an ally. 

The truth is, antagonistic parties are, in the nature of 
their relation, not enemies, but friends disagreeing. They 
aim at the same goal, and serve the same interest. They 
are always imderstood to be but sections of a larger whole. 
They seek intimacy of contact in struggle, in order that they 
may win over opponents. Indeed, the whole method of 
government by majority is based upon the evident fact 
that one party modifies another, and tiiat each is influenced 
by the forces of opposition, as well as by its own doctrines 
and its own leaders. The philosophy of government by 
majority is due to the experience that what was a majority 
yesterday may become to-morrow a minority, and vice 


These facts in civil polity are familiar enough, but it 
sounds strange to suggest that, in the same way, religious 
sects should be forced, or should force themselves, to enter 
into cooperative antagonism. Sects as sects hold aloof 
from one another. Each considers that it is spiritually 
self-contained and self-feeding, and when it ventures forth 
it attempts only to convert individuals — not other re- 
ligious groups as such — to its own point of view. As yet, 
imfortunately , there is no such thing as a meeting of Baptists 
with Methodists, or of both with Episcopalians, in organ- 
i^d conference and discussion, for the purpose of beating 
out some larger, wiser formula of ultimate religious truth 
than each in the past has been able to express. It is true 
that there are interdenominational meetings, but only for 
the discussion of matters imrelated to fundamental prin- 

When once the members of the various religious denomi- 
nations of America become imbued with the principle of 
national idealism as the essence of religion, it is hard to 
believe that they will not adopt it. Then they will cease 
to be sects. They will voluntarily and spontaneously co- 
operate as so many parties in one spiritual commimity. 
The first result may be an embitterment of antagonism, 
but this ejffect cannot last long. Inevitably and quickly 
there must ensue a rapprochement of all the denominations, 
drawn together by their common eiffort to conserve, 
strengthen, and purify the soul of the nation. 

Let me cite as analogous to ecclesiastical, the case of 
political parties. The latter meet face to face in the legis- 
lative halls of the State. They are professedly dominated 
by the desire to serve their country. They differ only as 
to the means to be adopted and as to the philosophy of 
society. So long as the State is in no great danger, oppo- 
sition may nm high ; but the moment any menace to the 
country becomes evident to all, and in proportion as it 



seems imminent, party strifes and differences are over- 
borne. What a boon if among religious bodies theological 
hatred always ceased the moment the spiritual life of the 
nation was in danger of disruption ! — and it would always 
cease at this point if religious denominations met as parties 
instead of holding aloof as sects. 

From the point of view of America's spiritual destiny, 
sectarianism is the sin of sins ; aloofness is a. denial of the 
one organic being of which they are incontrovertibly mem- 
bers. For any religious body this is schism — to remain 
aloof from other spiritual groups within the same nation. 

4. Sectarianism Anti-democratic 

Private-enterprise organizations in religion are, if self- 
centred and if assimiing to be independent units of spiritual 
life, by their very nature undemocratic in method, in ma- 
chinery [and principle ; and if it be true that America 
is fundamentally democratic, then sectarianism is anti- 
American. The notion is prevalent and almost universal 
that a little group of persons may segregate themselves out 
of the general community in which they live, and yet still 
remain democratic in character, provided they practise 
self-government by majority vote among themselves. But 
surely a self-selected group of persons, as compared with a 
whole nation, is always but a few; and government of a 
few by that few, in the interests of the same few, can never 
constitute democracy. Nor can a nation which is demo- 
cratic on a territorial basis, and governs all the people 
within its area by all for all, tolerate for a moment the 
notion that little voluntary groups of picked individuals 
are democratic simply because they imitate the national 
machinery of democracy. A little group, however demo- 
cratically governed, is always but a clique. What is more, 
it never has the character of democracy on a national ter- 


ritorial basis, because the clique is always vitally in touch 
with, and absolutely dependent upon, the whole nation in 
which it lives; whereas the nation is dependent upon no 
corresponding larger whole. If a religious clique counts 
itself an organic unit of spiritual life, it is blind to the most 
patent of all facts — the dependence of each of its mem- 
bers, and even of itself as a whole, upon the enveloping life 
of the nation. It is against the very spirit of democracy 
in religion — and therefore of America — that the religious 
elements of the nation should be segregated into mutually 
isolated private-enterprise churches. Such groups generally 
betray the vanities of petty aristocracies. Indeed, the 
more fully they imitate democratic forms and methods, the 
more grotesque and preposterous a counterfeit they become. 

It is a fact generally overlooked, but one which can never 
be denied, after attention has once been called to it, that 
there never can be real democracy except where the privi- 
lege of cooperation is extended to all the individuals 
living in any geographical area. That area may be only 
a small section of the territory of a whole nation, for 
democracy may be decentralized; but the moment the 
privilege of cooperation is denied to any of the inhabitants, 
there is a discarding of the territorial basis, which is the 
essence of democracy. 

Now, every religious denomination, whether acting as 
a sect or as a party, by its very nature excludes from its 
membership persons who do not accept its distinctive 
tenets. Such exclusion is inevitable, and is wholly com- 
mendable. The disbelievers in Methodism are not found 
inside of Wesley's organization, nor is it conceivable that 
they should be found there, for their presence would destroy 
the very character of the body upon which they had in- 
truded. It will be noticed that I am not pleading that 
denominations should surrender their distinctive tenets 
when I advise that they transform themselves from sects to 


parties. My thought is that they should continue to 
reject heretics, but at the same time meet heretics in a 
larger organization devoted to the spiritual imification of 
the nation. I am not proposing that every Christian 
body should become simply an ethical society, and then as 
such cooperate with all others. I am not proposing that 
before they organize nationally, they should drop any of 
their present conditions of membership ; I am only plead- 
ing that they should rid themselves of their prejudice of 
sectarianism. In future generations every denomination 
may be ready to discard any tenet which is found to be not 
essential to the highest service of the nation ; but such a 
change within any one reUgious denomination may weU 
be left to the reaction upon its members of contact with 
other religious groups, imder the inspiration of a national 

It may further be noticed that what I am advocating 
in no wise involves the necessity that any religious denomi- 
nation should in its own government be representative. 
Just as such a denomination does not become democratic 
by adopting for itself the machinery of government by 
majority vote, so, on the other hand, it does not cease to 
be so because it is episcopalian in its government. It 
becomes democratic, whatever its own form of government, 
the moment it seeks to cooperate in a national organiza- 
tion for the spiritual uplift of the world, and it does not 
cease to be so until it becomes self-centred in its interest, 
and denies its moral dependence upon the psychic reservoir 
of the whole people. 

In the spiritual interests of America, sectarianism must 
be stamped out of existence; then every denomination, 
becoming a party, will assume a new life and virility. All 
the defects of the various denominations in Christianity 
may be traced ultimately to sectarianism. Because they 
have counted themselves as autonomous churches, they 


have outlived by centuries the times which originally 
caused them and needed them. How unlike in this respect 
are they to the life of a whole nation, either as a Church or 
as a civic body ! 

One of the differences between a sect and a true democracy 
is that the latter does not attempt to exclude or suppress 
geniuses for promulgating new opinions. Geniuses, re- 
maining within the nation, whatever turmoil they stir up for 
a time, in the end react upon the nation's life, and are 
recognized of it. Religious denominations, however, not 
regarding themselves as parties, are noted for being founded 
by men of rare originality, but are notorious for never 
afterwards providing scope for prophets of fresh insight. 
In other words, the fundamental difference between a sect 
and a democratic religious party is that in the latter, by 
meeting with the members of other parties, every individual 
is stimulated to independent judgment; and parties are 
compelled in self-defence to modify their formulas and 
change their point of view. 

Organized contact with the life of other religious groups 
being thus vivifying, any one sect transforming itself into 
a national party would become sensitively solicitous for 
the nation's half-conscious needs and groping trends. 
It would illuminate these and turn them into conscious 
demands and self-directing principles. By virtue of such 
contact and of such service, it would deserve to be recognized 
as a democratic body. 

The preposterous notion that a sect holding aloof from 
cooperation with other reUgious denominations is demo- 
cratic, has evidently sprung out of the individualistic 
psychology of the eighteenth century. This regarded each 
individual person as originally the real miit of spiritual 
life, and any society as but a voluntary aggregate of separate 
atoms. Such a philosophy, however, cannot, by the very 
make-up of the word democracy, be rightfully designated 



by this term. From the point of view of history, etjrmology, 
and sociology, the real unit of democracy, as I have already 
pointed out, is always ultimately either a whole nation 
or some geographical section of its inhabitants, and not 
a voluntary group of selected individuals. Or, if the term 
cannot be thus limited after its long use in a vaguer sense, 
we must discriminate between individualistic democracy 
and social democracy. No one will deny that a sectarian 
denomination is not an instance of social democracy. 

The aloofness of one sect from another has been the 
curse not only of the nation as a whole, but of the religious 
bodies themselves. We find throughout America that 
organized religious life, as compared with other forms of 
social activity, is weak and ineffectual. Its thoughts and 
methods are petrified. The preachers are not the dominant 
factors in the intellectual and moral enlightenment of the 
nation that religious teachers ought to be. If the people 
are being led forward to new heights of self-control and 
vision, it is not the churches which are leading. They are 
timid, apologetic, alarmed, and cautious. Why is it so ? 
Why are other social agencies more progressive, valiant, 
confident, and beneficent ? It is because iJiey are in demo- 
cratic contact with one another and with groups with 
which they disagree. Such contact is the great vitalizing 
agent ; but the churches have not yet learned the wisdom 
of seeking it. 



I. Rdigian not merely a Private Concern 

Our age is turning more and more away from the old- 
time habit of trusting to intelligent beings other than man. 
The help we once expected from invisible and incorporeal 
agencies we are now demanding, with the enthusiasm of 
a new faith, from our fellow-mortals. Although each of 
us be weak and blind, we feel that infinite is the help, 
spiritual as well as material, which Man collectively can 
yield to men individually. 

Among the morally intelligent, religion is accordingly 
ceasing to be regarded as a merely private concernment. 
The individual is looking to society to deliver him from 
sin and suffering; and the society he looks to is nothing 
less than the nation to which he belongs. 

Until the last decade of the nineteenth century, those 
who had discarded communion with supernatural beings 
inclined to the belief that adequate consolation could be 
drawn by each person from the inner recesses of his own 
soul. The profounder life of the human spirit was sup- 
posed to be of such a nature that to attempt to communi- 
cate it was to expose it to degradation. "We descend to 
meet," said Emerson. To crave religious communion 
with one's fellow-mortals was thought to be a denial of 
the sufficiency of one's own inner store of spiritual wealth. 
Solitude and the vastness of isolation were the only im- 
mensities befitting the self-contained soul. Thus those 
who discarded commimion with supernatural beings with- 
drew into themselves. 



Even within the churches, the discipline, except in special 
centres, had been more and more falling into disrepute. 
Whole classes in the community, although they retained 
a belief in a personal Creator and in the traditional teachings 
of the Church, inclined to count cooperation with other 
human beings in religious practices as superfluous. The 
very fact that they found the consolations of fellowship 
in communion with personal agencies outside of the social 
organism made them the more ready to dispense with 
religious commimion with other men. 

Many observers interpreted this tendency as indicating 
a decline of religious conviction. But such an interpre- 
tation is incorrect. The religious life became less social, 
but there was not anything like a corresponding decrease 
of belief in the existence of a personal Creator or in the 
divinity of Jesus Christ, or of reverence for the Bible. 

The whole fact is that the doctrine of an individualistic 
psychology, while on the one hand injuring church life, 
had on the other hand been temporarily intensifymg the 
religious devotion of those who already had attained a 
spiritual consciousness of their own. It had injured church 
life in the same way that in politics it had been working 
against the full functioning of the State. By the year 
i860, the theory of laissez-faire had caused the Govern- 
ment of England to restrict itself almost entirely to police 
duties. In the previous century, the Constitution of America 
had in similar manner been framed under such distrust of 
political regulation that the Federal Government was not 
given full powers of sovereignty. No wonder that the 
Church was severed from the State, and that finally the 
identity of religion with the spirit of nationality was wholly 
forgotten. Nor is it a wonder that individuals preeminently 
religious by nature, accepting the doctrine of individualism, 
interpreted religion as a merely private concern. 


2. Professor WiUiam Jameses Error 

The individualistic interpretation of the inner life so 
possessed the mind of the late Professor William James that 
in his " Varieties of Religious Experience " he begins his 
investigation of *' personal religion '' with a deliberate setting 
aside of churches and all their works as worse than irrele- 
vant. He justifies this procedure on the ground that eccle- 
siastical organization emanates from individual geniuses, 
but that individual genius is not quickened by contact 
with church organization. 

A survey of history [he says] shows us that as a rule religious 
geniuses attract disciples, and produce groups of sympathizers. 
When these groups get strong enough to "organize" themselves, 
they become ecclesiastical institutions with corporate ambitions 
of their own. The spirit of politics and the lust of dogmatic 
rule are then apt to enter and to contaminate the originally 
innocent thing; so that when we hear the word "religion" 
nowadays, we think inevitably of some "chvirch" or other; . . . 
but in this covirse of lectvires ecclesiastical institutions hardly 
concern us at all. The religious experience which we are study- 
ing is that which lives itself out within the private breast. 
First-hand individual experience of this kind has always ap- 
peared as a heretical sort of innovation to those who witnessed 
its birth. Naked comes it into the world and lonely; and it 
has always, for a time at least, driven him who had it into the 
wDdemess, often into the literal wilderness out of doors, where 
the Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, St. Francis, George Fox, and 
so many others had to go. 

Now, in the name of history, I protest that all conclusions 
drawn from this premise are rendered worthless by the 
initial blunder of imagining that ecclesiastical institutions 
have no significant and helpful bearing upon the inmost 
religious experience. It is the very opposite of truth to 
say that such experience comes into the world "lonely." 


There never was a great religious innovator who was not 
nourished and fostered, as it were, at the bosom and in 
the very heart of an ecclesiastical organization. Jesus 
was conceived in the womb of Judaism; Savonarola and 
Luther, of Catholicism ; Wesley, of Anglicanism. They 
all loved their spiritual mother, the Church. Their very 
innovations were for her sake. Their sacrifice was for her. 
Not one single religious genius known to history dis- 
covered and brought forth, in isolation and by direct un- 
mediated commimion with the Infinite, "the originally 
innocent thing" which the Church at first perhaps failed 
to appreciate but afterwards adopted. Nor has any re- 
ligious genius known to history ever been the product of 
what is called "the world" as distinct from the Church. 
Even the withdrawing into the wilderness on the part of 
innovators was a taking with them of the precious secret 
of the ecclesiastical organization, that they might penetrate 
deeper into its spirit. 

It is psychologically unwarrantable, therefore, to imagine 
that a man's mind is isolated from social institutions simply 
because he has withdrawn for a period to meditate. Even 
George Fox did not get by isolation the new truth he 
uttered; he got it by contact with the quickening social 
life of his time, when all England was a church, and reli- 
gious controversy filled every nook and comer of the nation. 
Thousands were feeling what they could not express. In 
him, exquisitely sensitive as he was to the needs of the social 
organism about him, these feelings became conscious, 
articulate, and effective. 

If it were impossible for Professor James to see the whole 
truth, that personal experience comes from church or- 
ganization as much as church organization grows out of 
some one's personal experience — if he could only see half 
of this truth — it is a great pity that he should have seen 
the less significant half, and devoted his rare gifts to that 


side of it which of itself alone can never bear fruit unto 
life. The world's need is to know under what controllable 
conditions geniuses with fresh religious experience appear 
in society. If the world knew these conditions, it would 
bring forth a thousand where now, by haphazard, it pro- 
duces only one. 

3. The Quickening Influence of Churches 

K we are ever to deepen personal religious experience, 
it will be by intensifying, developing, and systematizing 
church discipline. Only ecclesiastical institutions quicken 
religious emotion and clarify insight to the degree that 
drives men, stung with the splendour of new vision, into the 
desert, and then back again into the slums of the city, 
with plans thought out and purposes and policy fixed 
and matured. K we want a Jesus to appear on earth, 
some nation like America must do what the Jewish theocracy 
for five whole centuries did — focus the attention and desire 
of men and women, by means of national Temple services, 
in expectation of faith, upon the necessity of a deliverer. 

As regards Savonarola, if we remember that the Catholic 
Church consisted not only of the immediate phase which 
dominated in Italy in his day, but of the whole reach back 
to the time of Jesus, and even, through Judaism, to Isaiah, 
we cannot deny that all that was new and most characteris- 
tic in Savonarola was old and most distinctive of the Church. 
The same is true of Luther. Had he not been a monk, 
he never could have made Germany. And in the case of 
Wesley, it was no accident that such unique first-hand 
experience of religion as his came to one whose father and 
mother both had been preachers and even fanatics of church 
discipline, as were also his remoter ancestors, and that he 
was bred in Oxford, the hotbed of ecclesiasticism. 

How could any one, in the face of these well-known facts. 



hope to account for personal religious experience from the 
point of view that ecclesiastical institutions hardly concern 
it at all? Even Emerson, with his fresh democratic 
American gospel of self-trust, never could have gained his 
unparalleled penetration and insight had he not been trained 
to be a preacher of an organized religious body, had he not 
studied at a imiversity founded to equip preachers, and 
had he not spnmg from generations of ministers of religion. 
The truth which a study of the historic facts brings to 
light is that great heretics, as well as the most powerful 
defenders of the old order, are formed only at the heart of 
ecclesiastical institutions. Heresies are but vital mani- 
festations of the spirit of the old order, as it adapts itself 
to changes in the intellectual and social environment, to 
meet for the Church's sake the exigencies of the coming 
hour. The spirit of orthodoxy and the spirit of heresy 
are one ; the opposite of both is worldly indifference. Let 
heretics remember their kinship with orthodox enthusiasts. 
Let them beware; for if they destroy instead of trans- 
forming ecclesiastical institutions, they will involve their 
own inspiration in a common ruin. Instead of living 
humanistic idealism there will remain only the dead matter 
of selfish conventionality. It is as imscientific to think 
that fresh spiritual insight can be gained in isolation from 
organized religious bodies as to imagine that scientific 
discoveries and inventions like those of radium and wire- 
less telegraphy will come to men and women who have 
been kept all their lives aloof from chemical and physical 
laboratories and from the great educational institutions of 
technical research. 

This error is the more astonishing at the beginning of 
an era when at last the law of cause and effect and the idea 
of the spiritual interdependence of mankind have taken 
practical hold of all the great thinkers of the world. The 
truth is. Professor James was the victim of a false individ- 


ualism. His psychology was blind to the fact that those 
whose minds axe most self-reliant, intuitive, and creative 
axe the ones most sensitively receptive to the higher 
tendencies of the age and society in which they live. When 
they were least aware of drawing spiritual vitality from 
the community about them, then most was the common 
life streaming into them and invigorating them. 

During the last fifteen years, not only has the main trend 
of enlightenment been away from communion with super- 
human agencies, but the religious geniuses of our day have 
at the same time become acutely conscious that they have 
no ethical life apart from the men and women who con- 
stitute the world about them. They know that if from 
these they cannot derive the inspiration which men in 
former times undoubtedly did receive under the discipline 
of the old religious practices, their souls must wither at 
the root. But they are beginning to realize that a man may 
be all the time absorbing spiritual sustenance from his fellow- 
mortals, although he be under the illusion that he is draw- 
ing the waters of life wholly from some inner well unfed 
from social sources. They are becoming convinced that 
those who attribute their salvation to supernatural agents, 
and to the belief in such, are, in fact, deriving their power 
and enthusiasm not ultimately from within any more 
than from above, but from round about — from the spirit- 
ual reservoir of their nation, their city, their church, and, 
through literature and history, from the past of human 
society carried over and flowing on into the present time. 

4. The Self-made Man in Religion 

Now, it may be contended that a man can be spiritually 
in touch with the religious life of his times although he 
be not a member of any church. He may go from one 
religious meeting to another and hear all the preachers 


of his town. In periodical literature and books he may 
follow the great controversies of the hour on theology. 
Through the daily Press he may become aware of all the 
currents and cross-currents, the main stream and the eddies 
and back-waters of the spiritual consciousness of the time. 
What, therefore, it may be asked, is the need of his entering 
into the routine and the dogmatism of active membership 
in any one chiurch organization? Let him spare himself 
such tramimels, and in the freedom of independence let him 
draw vitality from all the sources round about him. It 
may be maintained that by thus holding aloof and yet 
remaining receptive he would avoid all the pettinesses and 
corruptions which inevitably manifest themselves in the 
life of any organized body of human beings, and yet gain 
that which is highest and of enduring worth in them all. 

In answer to this contention, I would reply : A person 
who is outside of all religious organizations is less likely 
to gain an expert intimacy with reUgion. However much 
he tries, he will remain veritably an outsider, and all those 
who are under the discipline of the organization will realize 
that he has missed something that is essential to a correct 
understanding. Experience does not justify the notion 
that a man quite aloof from the religious life and thought 
of others will possess any highly developed spiritual life 
of his own. The very organs of religion in his spirit will 
become atrophied. After twenty years of isolation he 
may become a fanatic, but he will be one whom every 
member of organized life will know to pity rather than 
respect. He will have no message for his age or any other 
age, because messages come from that source from which 
he has cut himself off. 

Would Professor James have maintained, in regard to 
scientific insight and enthusiasm, that it also lives itself 
out within the private breast, unrelated to the organized 
scientific life of the commimityP If a man makes great 


discoveries in chemistry or physics, it is due, at least in 
our age of more than primitive knowledge, to his disdple- 
ship and discipline in scientific organizations. In with- 
drawing for greater concentration on some special problem, 
he takes with him the whole tradition and apparatus of 
scientific investigation. Further, if in his isolated in- 
vestigation he remains long aloof and drops out of touch 
with what other men are doing in the privacy of scientific 
organizations but have not yet published to the lay world, 
he will be overtaken and left behind. 

Now, what is the difference between the insight and 
enthusiasm of religion and the insight and enthusiasm of 
science that would make any one cast something like 
contempt upon ecclesiastical organizations? In science, 
art, and literature, the idea of the self-made man has been 
forever exploded. But religion being still more compli- 
cated and its tradition still longer and more involved 
than the scientific or artistic interest, the self-made man 
in religion must be more grotesque and impossible 
than in other domains of hiunan effort. One may trace 
almost all the follies and vanities of religious men to their 
notion that in religion one need not take coimsel of one's 
fellow-men either for warning or example, but may open 
up in isolation infinite inner sources of light and life. It is 
the self-made prophets and prophetesses who bring forth 
such "abortive, monstrous, and imkindly mixed" fanati- 
cisms as Mormonism and Eddyism. 

Lest I seem to exaggerate the radical significance of 
Professor James's individualism, it must be remembered 
that the sentences which I have quoted from him contain 
no merely passing observation, but are introduced to justify 
the entire omission from his whole volume of any tracing 
of spiritual conversions and illuminations to the influence 
of churches upon the innermost centre of men's souls. 

It may be true that ecclesiastical organizations begin 


to develop corporate ambitions of their own, and that the 
spirit of p>oIitics and the lust of dogmatic rule enter and 
contaminate the originally innocent thing. But is not 
this imperfection equally to be noted in schools, in xmi- 
versities, in dties, in states, in families, in business organiza- 
tions ? Yet would anybody expect a man to become richer 
or more learned or more dvic by standing outside these 
imperfect institutions than by entering into them ? Further- 
more, does a historic knowledge of churches lead us to think 
that they are any more corrupt than other social bodies? 
And does not a knowledge of others lead us to think that 
their ambitions, their politics, and their lust of domination 
are often more than offset by a still greater development 
of their true ends and methods? Harvard University, 
if one knew intimately its inside workings, would no doubt 
show its fair proportion of frailties and corruptions; yet 
in the eyes of the world it stands not for these, but as the 
foster-mother of such geniuses as the writer of " The Varie- 
ties of Religious Experience." 

5. *^Ofnn€ Vivum ex Vivo^' 

Again I would meet religious individualism by pointing 
out the fact that even innovators and heretics in religion de- 
rive their followers not from **the world," but from among 
those who have long imdergone the discipline of church 
communion. Those who have withdrawn into temporary 
isolation gladly turn to some new prophet who is voicing 
their living convictions. The men who have always been 
outside of churches may care for music or painting or the 
drama or athletics or wealth; but they have been too 
much occupied with these concerns to have attended inti- 
mately to tiie new religious promptings of the age. 

It is to be feared that as a result of the wide popularity 
of Professor James's book^ the impression has arisen and 


become fixed that on account of something in the nature 
of the religious life, religion is necessarily individualistic; 
whereas the truth is that the psychological study of religious 
experience must trace it to the nutrition and stimulus which 
the ecclesiastical organizations give to the growing soul, just 
as biology traces the embryonic life of a child to the en- 
vironing and vitalizing organism of the mother. When 
the new organism has become severed, its vitality cannot 
again become dependent upon that of the parent ; yet this 
very independence is undeniably the result of its prior 
vital dependence ; so although a church may be the cause 
of new insight and of religious energy, yet the innermost 
experience of the soul, when fully ripe, may be vitally self- 
suflBdent. Nevertheless, it is so because within the church 
organization a long period of gestation had been taking 
place. So patent are these facts that one wonders whether 
Professor James was not rendered blind to them by some 
imconsdous bias. It would almost seem as if he had ap- 
proached his investigation of personal religion on the pre- 
supposition that its phenomena are the manifestation of 
occult powers in the soul, which are not derived from the 
environing sodal organism of mankind, but which emanate 
directly from a transcendent and supersensible world of 
spirits. A person holding such a belief might naturally 
become oblivious to the historic sodal causes of inner ex- 
periences. How else could any one overlook the obtrusive 
fact that personal conversions to religion are nearly always 
special instances of religious epidemic, and that such 
epidemic spreads not wholly unintentionally and unplanned 
from those centres of organized life called ecdesiastical 
institutions ? 

The high value I place upon the spiritual disdpline of 
ecclesiastical organization arises from my recognition of 
the perfectly patent connection of cause and effect existing 
between moral fellowship and personal enthusiasm. My 


protest, on the other hand, against the tracing of conver- 
sions to supernatural or occult causes is due to my accept- 
ance of the fundamental presupposition of all psychological 
reasoning — that no special mental phenomenon shall 
ever be traced either to occult or supernatural sources if it 
can be accounted for by the action of specific social in- 
fluences and stimuli. Professor James, although he does 
not commit himself overtly to a spiritistic source of inward 
illimiination, nevertheless seems to favour it. At the same 
time he traces conversion to subconscious and imconsdous 
processes, which, in turn, by the very limitation which he 
prescribes for himself at the outset of his investigation, 
he refuses to trace to definite social circumstances and to 
the influences and organized efforts of other himian beings. 

6. The Social Genesis of Conversion 

Now what is it that actually takes place during a revival ? 
We can easily discover the essential nature of what goes on 
if we remember that religious folk have "liunped together 
as the grace of God" — to use the late W. T. Stead's 
expression — all the diffused and disseminated influences 
and agencies throughout the community that are beneficent 
and ethical. A revival is an organization of these good 
influences and agencies so as to bring them to bear with 
their full force upon the character of individual members 
of the community. Conversion is the surrender of the 
individual to these influences. He may not be a member 
of any ecclesiastical organization, but it is such an insti- 
tution which directs the influences, and by concentrating 
them intensifies their power. 

If we assume that conversion is an advantage to the man 
converted, we can but regret the tendency to trace it to 
supernatural or occult causes ; for no one except a believer 
in magic would presiune to be able to constrain the super- 


natural and the occult in the same manner in which he 
would expect to control purely himian and natural forces. 
It is a pity that an effect like conversion, which is capable 
of being wrought in millions of men by the society in which 
they live, should be generally declared to be beyond direct 
himian control. It is especially a pity, because ever- 
increasing munbers of men refuse to believe in the super- 
natural and the occult, and yet are told that the sudden 
transition from badness to goodness is a supernatural event. 
They accordingly are bewildered and hardened, they are dis- 
tracted from entertaining and absorbing that holy influence 
which the revival irradiates, merely because it is labelled 
miraculous. Indeed, the majority of organizers of re- 
vivalistic movements require of every convert, not simply 
that he shall renoimce the evil and turn to the good, but 
that he shall also accept supernaturaUsm with its accom- 
panying occultism. They brand as coimterfeit every 
transition from badness to goodness not effected under 
their peculiar interpretation. 

There are thousands whom the churches do not convert 
because the old theory offends the modem scientific spirit, 
Coimtless mmibers would be wakened up to their own 
higher selfhood who now remain spiritually dead, if only 
Christian teachers would but drop their supernaturalism 
and their individualistic psychology with its naive moral 
trust in the subconscious and the occult. These theories 
are antagonistic to the complete and thorough control by 
the community of the good influences latent within itself. 

7. Spiritual Environment deliberately Prepared 

The pernicious effects of individualistic psychology and 
of supematuralistic theology are seen in the preference given 
by most people to whatever is purely spontaneous in the 
religious life, and their dislike for whatever has been planned 

I4S TIE socx 

aad worked op vitk 4 fcHw r ifr mffmim Havr 

dbrt widioat bdng aware that it is tbe oo-^ooc at 

' • • . I K 

ffif*"** tiiat incfiiidiial cxxnneraoo was doe to tlie ^■lilinl 
ftate for tiie time bdng of the oommamtT at higt^ but dicy 
would shriidL from the idea diat thk sfxntBal state maj^t 
hare come otherwise than spontaneously. They ooold 
scarcely bcfieve diat it really was holy and sacred if it 
had been pfaumed months ah^ul and if definite w»^* "^ 
of propaganda and organization had bron^t it into ex- 

Although those who dislike the conscioiis efforts of 
erdfsiastiral institutions, as somdiow incompatible with 
true ^rituaUty, may not be aware of it themselves, this 
sentiment of theirs is essentially opposed to a belief in the 
spiritual organism of society as the source of redemptive 
energy. They maintain that a revival is more genuine 
and more holy if it comes quite ^x>ntaneously. But why 
should man's purposes, his reason and foresight have a 
polluting effect? Have the>' in science, art, politics, or 
domestic life ? Are not consciousness and self-consciousness 
the highest manifestations of humanity, and the chief 
blessings which society engenders in its indi\*idual members ? 
Why, again, is an event in the individual soul, if induced by 
occult and mysterious forces or by unembodied spirits, 
any more beautiful or beneficent than if occasioned by 
human purpose and foresight ? Such a sentiment can only 
arise from a preference for the superhuman, which casts 
discre^lit upon and so paralyzes the efficiency of the human. 
Why is the conscious less to be treasured than the sub- 
conscious? Why is effort less holy than spontaneity? 
And if it be not less holy, why is a revival systematically 
planned and controlled less sacred and beneficent than an 
impremeditated outburst? Those who discourage the 


efifort of others in bringing about a man's conversion cast 
a slur upon conscious human effort altogether. 

Now, there is urgent need that the beneficent influences 
and ethical agencies latent within the nation should be 
wisely directed and applied for the healing of the people. 
So far as these influences are uncontrolled and imorganized, 
and not even recognized as existing and as controllable, 
they are practically non-existent. So frequently do they 
remain latent and unperceived that whenever by any 
chance, or by the half-unconsdous efforts of supematural- 
ists, they begin to operate, they are so imusual and imfamil- 
iar that they seem to the imreflecting mind to emanate 
from some source outside of our accustomed universe. 
Society itself thus gets no credit for the best that is in it. 
Only the evil is attributed to human beings and their social 
organization. All this beautiful freshness of the spirit, 
this wonderful influx of energy, insight, and joyous, 
unselfish life are laid to the credit of some transcendent 
world. What is good in society has brought it about 
that men who were morally dead have become aUve; 
yet society, rightly blamed for their death, is not rightly 
praised for their resurrection. Society has saved them; 
they lacked motive to live, and the power to live aright 
was beyond them ; but now it is as difficult for them to sink 
to their former level as it was before for them to rise to 
their present height. Yet society, which has lifted them, 
is the very being from whose clutches they imagine that 
they have now at last happily escaped. Such is the mental 
confusion of our day that churches do not see that the only 
philosophy which fully appreciates their function is what 
I may venture to call social mysticism or mystical socialism. 
The supematuralism and the individualistic occultism with 
which the churches are now saturated weaken enormously 
their vitality and their power to quicken individuals into 
original centres of spiritual insight and enthusiasm. Mys- 


tical socialism or social mysticism is the only philosophy 
which fully realizes that when a man is converted, it is be- 
cause into his central personality have rushed those higher 
social influences and agencies hitherto latent, and perhaps 
imdiscemed, which before scarcely touched him. Now 
they have become his very self ; and not only that, but he 
himself has become a creative point of ethical energy. 

8. The Power thai Saves 

What takes place at every revival is exactly analogous 
to the physical phenomenon which is witnessed when a 
burning-glass is so held between the sun and a piece of wood 
that first there is a bright spot of focussed light, and then 
a charring and smoking, till finally the wood itself bursts 
into a blaze shining back to its parent sun. It becomes a 
flame, with power to communicate its own heat and Ught 
to other objects of like nature with itself. Now the organi- 
zation of ethical agencies by ecclesiastical institutions 
forms a burning-glass which gathers and directs the love 
of men and the love of duty, hitherto diffused and therefore 
weak, upon individual human beings who have never be- 
fore felt the good in overmastering strength. Lonely iso- 
lated souls, timid and shy natures, the cynical, the violent, 
the envious, the jealous, the malicious, self-indulgent 
victims of vicious habit, now for the first time experience 
the quickening intensity and wholesome joy of being cared 
for, respected, and sought out as of infinite worth. Di- 
vinely tender is the message with which every ecclesiastical 
institution heralds its revival — that the lowest and most 
degraded sinner is precious beyond all price. This mes- 
sage is coupled with the announcement of the infinite worth 
of purity, justice, and all personal and civic virtues. 

If conversions ever took place unrelated to revivals, either 
imdesigned or prearranged, there might be some ground 


for the individualistic or the supematuralistic theory of 
the origin of personal religious insight and enthusiasm. 
But in the face of the undeniable connection of institutional 
life with the conversions, one is forced by all the canons 
of logical inference to believe that religious genius is made 
luminous through the action of society upon it. 

Where there is no concentration upon individuals of the 
redemptive influences and agencies which are already 
stored up within society, there are no conversions. There 
must be at least a few persons actively imited in devotion 
to the higher life, else others who are spiritually cold and 
dead do not experience a new birth. It is quite true that 
there may be no actual prearrangement to bring about a 
revival; also, the persons converted may not have been 
attending religious meetings of any kind. In such cases, 
however, the spiritual energy overflows the accustomed 
centres, where it has been preserved in the commimity 
from past experiences. By some happy chance it lodges, 
like a flake of fire, in the soul of some isolated individual 
and sets it aglow. Always — imless the methods of infer- 
ence universally acknowledged as valid cannot be applied 
here — conversion is due to social forces of a moral order 
impinging upon the rational will of an individual. 

The more one investigates religious experience, the 
more one is led to the conviction that there never has been 
a conversion where such social forces were not, at least 
accidentally, impinging upon the individual's mind. And 
wherever the forces reach a certain degree of p>ower and 
persistence, conversion is inevitable, even against the set 
determination of the individual himself. Thus it happens 
tliat what is called the working of the Holy Ghost in the 
inmost spirit of a man can always be brought about by the 
right sort of social organization, and it will always be pre- 
vented by unfavourable social environment. Given the 
conditions, the Holy Ghost is always manifested. This 


is not surprising if the divine Spirit be identical with the 
informing will of society as a spiritual organism. By 
psychologists who have no individualistic bias, the Holy 
Ghost is readily identified with the Higher Will, the deeper 
selfhood, of some social group boimd together in devotion 
to the moral ideal. It is true that the Holy Ghost cannot 
be arbitrarily and dictatorially summoned ; but one may 
be certain that it can be induced whenever any ecclesiasti- 
cal institution is devoutly and wisely bent upon a manifes- 
tation of its presence and power. The Holy Ghost is a 
visitant that always comes, either in response to a given 
summons, or whenever by unpremeditated circumstance 
the avenues into which it is forever pressing are opened. 
This simply means that the moral influences and agencies 
within the community have been so gathered together and 
directed that no one upon whom they are brought to bear 
can prevent himself from being lifted to and borne along on 
a higher plane than he would otherwise have reached. 
If social mysticism discloses the secret of personal religion, 
it is evident that the real religious interests of the nation 
are not only assailed by the old-fashioned supematuralism, 
but are also being undermined by the new-fashioned in- 
dividualistic occultism. It is essential to religious develop- 
ment that we should check the social heresy that religious 
conversion is a merely private or subjective change, effected 
by subconscious incubation within the individuaPs own 
mind, unrelated to society round about him. 

It well may be that the soul's own energies have been 
secretly developing like a folded bud, and that now in the 
fulness of time the blossom bursts of itself into an ex- 
panded flower. But what are the forces which have been 
warming and moistening the subsoil of the individual's 
conscious mind ? These, I maintain, are social influences ; 
new moral vitality from the community round about is pass- 
ing quietly but effectively through the normal channels of 


the senses, — by words, looks, gestures, expressions of face 
and tones of voice — into the most secret recesses of the in- 
dividual soul ; and we have no right to trace that vitality 
to a self -feeding source far within the individual, for we can 
plaii^y detect its social origin. 

Every human soul is a member of a spiritual organism ; 
but that organism is not some transcendent invisible reality 
in the heavens above consciousness or in the dark depths 
beneath. It is the mental life of the historic nation within 
which the individual lives, although that nation be not 
uninfluenced by the group of interdependent nations upon 
the earth. During a revival, the idealistic forces of the 
nation flow in upon the individual in such vitalizing abim- 
dance that he becomes conscious of the General Will as 
identical with himself. 

Of the two theories hostile to ecclesiastical institutions, 
individualistic occultism is more to be feared than super- 
naturalism. It teaches, if I may be allowed to reiterate, 
that the source of spiritual vitality is some inward, mys- 
terious, non-social centre of eruptive psychic powers. It 
further teaches that these psychic centres are closely related 
to the secondary and subordinate nerve-centres. It accord- 
ingly dethrones man's primary conscious selfhood and 
links itself on to hypnotic states, favouring trance. It 
sweeps aside and even rejects, as adverse to real religious 
life, the systematized disciplines and instructions of a 
church; it implies that the true religious life is in spite 
of ecclesiastical institutions. A truer psychology, or- 
ganic and social, is sure to supersede this fashionable cult 
of the individual subconsciousness. Then will the leaders 
of our ecclesiastical institutions discard individualism 
and adopt social mysticism as the working hypothesis 
in ecclesiastical polity. They will teach that the 
organized spiritual forces in society itself constitute the 
incubating environment of each individual soul. They 



will count it as a mark of degeneracy to trace religious 
quickenings to self-generating subjective psychic sources. 
They will become fully aware that the invisible social 
energies are incessantly playing upon and modifying each 
individual's inmost mind, witiiout his necessarily being 
conscious of them, and even against his purpose. The 
leaders of ecclesiastical institutions will come to look upon 
the notion of a subliminal spiritual self as an unnecessary 
postulate, and will see that nearly all the excesses and ab- 
surdities of religious enthusiasm are traceable either to 
supematuralistic or occultistic presuppositions. The man 
who does not consciously attach himself to the organized 
spiritual environment of the nation, but burrows inward 
to some psychic centre remote from the invisible but real 
social organism, is making for the abysses of insanity, 
criminal egoism, self-deification, and the primordial slime 
of sensual occultism. When the leaders of the churches 
realize this tendency, they will shrink in alarm from every 
form of individualistic psychology. 






The reinterpretation of religion and the revision of its 
rites and teachings which I have been recommending con- 
sist in the elimination of every trace of trust in moral 
intelligences who are not members of himian society, and 
in a corresponding expression of faith in combined human 
effort imder natural law. Before considering the moral 
justification of this principle and before applying it to cur- 
rent religious formulae, it would be well for any one to bring 
fully before his mind which those factors are, in the ordinary 
orthodox scheme of religious instruction, that must be re- 
jected as coming imder the head of ''intelligent agencies 
who are not members of himian society." For this phrase 
may be so vague to many that they will not otherwise realize 
exactly its specific applications. At the outset it must be 
noticed that all events in being traced to supernatural in- 
telligences are thereby regarded as miracles, and that a 
Christianity no longer tracing events to such sources would 
be Christianity minus miracles. 

I. No Guidance from the Dead 

Let it then be observed that in setting aside supernatural 
agencies as a source of redemption we give up the possibility 
of any help from any himian being after he has died, except 
such as he had set into operation before his death. We 
close the spirit world as distinct from the himian, and refuse 
direct assistance from hmnan beings after they cease to 



be responsible members of society, excepting always such 
wisdom and character as they left behind them when they 
died. But we lose nothing hereby. 

This general principle permits intimate commimion with 
our personal friends after their death through the work 
they did and the character they revealed when on earth, 
and thus prolongs to us their redemptive influence; but 
it shuts us off from any trust in them as agents operating 
directly upon and within human souls. 

The rejection of this kind of intercourse with hiunan 
beings after their death, however, in no wise involves a 
denial of their continued individualized existence. For 
of all the things which we may or may not say of death, 
only this is imdeniably a moral fact: when a man dies, 
whether he live again or not, he must by imiversal consent 
and law cease to be any longer a constituent member of 
organized society. After death he may still be living, but, 
although he may commimicate with us, he ought not to 
be allowed to vote ; he may still be living, but he must not 
be permitted to amend the last will and testament he 
made before dying ; he shall inherit no property ; he shall 
not stand for election to any political oflBice ; he shall not 
marry ; we must refuse to accredit him with the paternity 
of any children except those he begot before death. Other- 
wise, hiunan society becomes a madman's last dream ! 
Wliatever else death is or is not, it is certainly a moral re- 
moval of that individual agent from within the pale of 
the political and biological fellowship of human society. 
In thus refusing to trust to the departed as agents in the 
scheme of human activity, we are only acting along the line 
of common sense as it has embodied itself increasingly in 
the laws and customs of all civilized peoples, and we are 
attempting to bring into the sphere of religious economy 
what is already the principle of all other departments of 
social utility. 


2. Hdp from the Historical Christ 

The chief application of this principle to the dead which 
I wish here to insist upon is that concerning Jesus Christ. 
The historic Christ is ours, to use us and to be used by us ; 
but we know that the transcendent Christ is beyond our 
sphere of right and duty, even though we may not doubt 
his continued existence. He shall be no exception. That 
social righteousness with which the Christian religion pri- 
marily concerns itself is made up of the very tissue of the 
political, economic, and physiological life of human society. 
To preserve the integrity of this, society must concede no 
powers to any human being after his death and can ac- 
cept no benefits from such a source. It is in the name of 
righteousness and not simply for the material and intel- 
lectual interests of mankind, that the moral judgment of 
the world can give no place to the post-mortem activity of 
any spirit. When religion is brought into line with ethical 
realism it will, I believe, give greater prominence than be- 
fore to the earth-life of Jesus Christ, and to the wisdom and 
moral power still issuing from it ; but for the very sake of 
that sublime heritage it will refuse to attribute to him any 
operation or render him gratitude for any benefit which 
he may be conferring upon society since his death. 

It should be noticed, in passing, that the exclusion of any 
eflfect which Jesus Christ may have been causing since his 
death is in no wise to be traced to a denial of him as the in- 
carnate Creator of the universe. Although he were that, 
we must cling exclusively to his historic existence. Mor- 
ally we dare not give him place except in his humanity 
while he lived on earth and as the bequeather of an earthly 
record. Even if he were, while on earth, the personal 
Creator of the universe incarnate, we could not be at liberty 
to recognize the transcendent aspect of his nature. All that 
was ethically valuable and, therefore, all that is humanly 


to be recognized was his natural humanity. Such was the 
right attitude towards him even while he was living on 
earth ; how much less can it be permissible to depend upon 
him after death has emptied him of human accountabilities ! 
So far as I am aware, the current Christian theology has 
never been designated as '' Christian Spiritism, " but such a 
phrase may not seem an imwarrantable combination of 
terms, as it well indicates the practice, still permeating all 
the historical churches, of direct commtmion with the 
transcendent Christ; that is to say, a personal agent still 
consciously loving mankind and working for its redemption. 
This practice is one of trust in an intelligence energizing 
not as a member of human society, and therefore super- 
himian and supernatural. 

3. The Communion of Saints 

In the same way, reverence and gratitude to the Virgin 
Mary for what she was before she died are entirely legiti- 
mate ; but the moment she is regarded as a conscious being 
still interceding for us with her son and attending to our 
human woes, the practice of supplication to her becomes 
spiritistic; it is anti-social, because it attempts to draw 
moral strength from beyond the spiritual organism of 
society; it is therefore ethically illicit. As of the Virgin 
Mary, so of all the other saints of the Church. There is a 
purely ethical and natural commimion with them. But 
the moment they are trusted as intelligent agents still 
operating in the manner in which they worked before their 
death, the conunimion cannot be morally tolerated. The 
spiritual power within society is a jealous God and will 
allow none other. 

Besides personal friends departed in death, besides Jesus 
Christ, the Virgin Mary, and other historic saints, the 
Christian scheme of redemption, in a subordinate degree, 


recognizes the intervention of angels and of the devil. 
These also, however, must be denied, not as non-existent, 
but as outside the morally recognizable pale of human 

4. Against Demonism 

Happily, there is in official Christianity no recognition 
of that class of spirits which in the orient are believed to 
inhabit natural objects and specific places and to control 
outward events. Yet, now that Christian nations have 
come into reciprocal contact with the East, where such be- 
lief is rampant, it is well that this form of spiritism shoiild 
be stigmatized along with the distinctly Christian kinds, 
in order that the Churches, in the revision of their rites 
and teachings, may make provision against the possible 
spread among us of oriental demonism. 

If the principle of discarding trust in supernatural agents 
were to be applied to any of the other great religions of the 
world, it would effect changes in them more drastic than 
those which it would bring about in Christianity. For all 
the other great religions, even Buddhism as it is actually 
practised in Thibet and China, are still more worm-eaten 
with spiritism than is Christianity. Our canon, therefore, 
for the revision of Christian formulae is no petty rule ani- 
mated by a specific antagonism to the particular supematu- 
ralism found in the Christian scheme of redemption. It is 
a imiversal principle, based upon the fact that righteous- 
ness is vitally dependent upon the belief in redemption 
wholly from within the social organism of mankind. 

5. Against Monistic Spiritism 

There is current throughout Christendom, however, one 
other form of trust in invisible agents which seems not 
to have been recognized as being spiritistic. For some 


reason which I cannot explain, spiritism has seemed to 
refer exclusively to a belief in many spirits, and Christian 
theologians have assumed that if you have ceased to believe 
in any but one, and that an infinite spirit, you have ceased 
to be a spiritist. But surely in the conception that there 
exists one all-wise and omnipotent personal Creator who 
interposes directly in human affairs, we have spiritism par 
exceUence. If the churches are to turn from trust in in- 
visible agencies outside of society and look for redemption 
only from within its own actual and latent resources, 
they can no more tolerate the idea of one outside will, 
although omnipotent and omniscient, than of a multitude 
of finite wills. The only God consistent with the integrity 
of mankind as a spiritual organism is one who is identical 
with the universal human spirit acting from withm man, 
identical with his constitution, and under natural law. In- 
asmuch as an intelligent Creator of the imiverse cannot be 
treated as a responsible member of human sodety, he must 
be excluded from our scheme of salvation on the same 
groimds as those on which we would exclude any other 
superhmnan intelligence. Human salvation would not 
be salvation if it were not wrought by men as well as for 

There is no occasion of a practical order for denying the 
existence of a Creator or for doubting it; but the moral 
sanity of society compels us to insist that he must not be 
made either an object or a subject of human rights or duties. 
His majesty and power can be of no avail, for they would 
obliterate our initiative and responsibility. If he were to 
come among us in immistakable bodily presence, even if 
only to advise, political society would be at an end. His 
will, in so far as it is not identical with the general good 
of the community and the organic bent of individual men, 
must be overlooked. Despite all this, however, we may at 
the same time acknowledge that all the uniformities and 


regularities of natural law are embodiments of his will. 
These imiformities fortunately manifest themselves to the 
moral judgment of man not as purposes of transcend- 
ent intelligence, but as conditions, inevitable and inex- 
orable, imder which and within which our kingdom of 
ideal ends is to actualize itself. Every rule of righteousness 
is a condition laid down in the sequence of nature — in the 
objective order of things — for the attainment of the ideal 
ends of humanity. Happily, the order is never broken and 
the beneficence of the sequence of things is bound up with 
its inexorability. In a scheme of moral redemption, there- 
fore, the cosmic order, the laws of nature, the imiformities 
of cause and effect, must be revered not as themselves 
animated with a purpose of their own, but because they are 
our opportimity for fulfilling the himian ends of social 
justice. The moment transcendent intelligence is ap- 
proached for help, that moment there is a shirking of human 
responsibility, a denial of God as our Cosmic Opporttmity 
and as the Immanent Source of Redemption. 

6. A Presupposition of All Moral Judgments 

If any one will consider the imiversal practice of men, 
where their ideas have not been warped from common sense 
by priests of the supernatural, he will see that they refuse 
to attribute any event in hmnan experience to intelligent 
agencies beyond human society. He will see that this 
refusal is well founded ; for the tracing of human events 
to superhuman agents is socially and morally suicidal. 
Suppose you were suddenly to come across the dead body 
of a man who had been evidently killed by the bullet of a 
pistol. You see the pistol lying near the body and it is 
obvious that the man has bled to death. Could it enter 
your mind, as a sane human being, to entertain for an in- 
stant the thought that some supernatural agent had fired 


the shot? It coiild not. The extremest spiritist would 
not so far wander from the common-sense belief that all 
events are caused either by purely physical forces alone or 
by these together with human volition, as to think for a 
moment that a man had been murdered by an unembodied 
spirit. The presupposition that underlies all moral reason- 
ing is that no supernatural agent ever commits the deeds 
which we call crimes. And what I am pleading for is that 
this presupposition of all sanity, of all thinking upon moral 
conduct, shoiild now at last be extended so as to cover all our 
holiest deeds and all our most inward aspirations and in- 
spirations, and shoiild enter into and control religious prac- 
tices and teaching. It must now become the principle for 
the revision of public worship. If spiritism is not to be 
driven out from the realm of religious practice as it has been 
driven out from other spheres of human thought and action, 
it should be reinstated throughout the whole domain of 
experience. Such a remstatement, however, is too pre- 
posterous to be entertained even in jest. 

7. No Mediumship 

If it be conceded that no incorporeal spirit has ever 
directly and imaided by a hmnan being committed any 
crime, it might still be maintained as a possibility that some 
supernatural agent might take possession of a human being 
and make him the instrument of its will. But is this sup- 
position any more tenable than the notion of unmediated 
agency ? K it be true that a hmnan being may suddenly, 
against his will, and possibly even without his knowledge, 
be transformed into the medium of some bodiless intelligent 
agency, is not the attribution of deeds to hmnan doers 
forthwith and forever at an end? How can we nail any 
deed to any hmnan doer, if we concede the shadow of a 
possibility of truth to the suggestion that some other in- 


visible being than himself is instigating from within him the 
crime which his body commits? It is of course possible 
that a man may suddenly become insane ; but then there 
is no longer any question as to our assigning his deed to any 
personal agency. His act itself then ceases to be a moral 
deed, and becomes a meaningless accident. But the 
moment we assign the motions of a man's body to some 
supernatural agency within himself, we are landed into a 
state of mental anarchy fatal to moral judgment. If all 
events without exception are not to be traced either to 
imconsdous nature or to nature animated by some human 
self -direction, where are we ? If the doer be not the same 
person in whose present consciousness the memory of his 
past deeds lives on as his own, how can we approve or dis- 
approve of any hmnan being ? 

Let me then once more state that presupposition of all 
moral judgments, in accordance with which I plead that the 
religions of the world should be reconstructed : No crime 
nor evil thought and no good deed nor holy desire of ours 
should ever be traced to any other spiritual agencies than 
those actually inhabiting our human bodies, and recogniz- 
able by all other human beings as fitting subjects of hmnan 
rights and privileges. Let me also point again to the most 
important application of this principle. To attribute the 
highest impulses of our hearts to Jesus Christ as directly 
operating upon us from some celestial sphere of his present 
existence is morally and religiously a mistake. Whatever 
influence of his we now experience must be traced back 
to what he did and said while living on earth, and to per- 
sons who since then have transmitted to us his quickening 
spirit. This new interpretation in no wise tends to over- 
look the power of his spirit ; and imder it the influence of 
his example will imdoubtedly grow. Those are not wise 
disciples of his who are not ready to attribute all his present 
power to his actual short life on earth. They imwit- 


tingly sin against him in undermining the fundamental 
presupposition of all social life. 

8. Naturalism 

Before we consider the changes which this new idea 
will work in religious forms and expressions, we must pause 
to guard it from being grossly misconceived. The prin- 
ciple which I am setting up is generally spoken of as nat- 
uralism. This is the term which even Sir John Seeley 
selects as the most fitting, and he calls the type of religion 
which is in harmony witii it "natural religion." Yet the 
term naturalism has become increasingly associated with 
the materialistic and atomistic theory of existence. It 
is generally supposed to imply that the ultimate reality of 
things consists of atoms of matter. Yet such a notion has 
absolutely nothing whatever of kinship with the principle 
which I have been advocating, and which is the presupposi- 
tion of all of Sir John Seeley's thinking. That presupposi- 
tion does not trace all events to material atoms or to physi- 
cal forces, for it assigns many happenings to personal 
agencies. It is true that it assigns none to spirits who are 
not members of hmnan communities ; but the recognition 
of one single finite person in a human body as the cause of 
any event is incompatible with the theory that the ultimate 
substance of all things is physical energy. NaturaUsm, 
therefore, as it is held by many physicists, and as it is cen- 
sured by the philosophical idealists, — such as Professor 
James Ward, in his book on " Naturalism and Agnosticism," 
— is not at all the naturalism which Sir John Seeley re- 
spected and defended. Nor is it in any sense the naturalism 
which is opposed to religious supematuralism. 

In the literature of religious controversy, supematuraUsm 
means nothing more nor less than the attribution of cer- 
tain events in hmnan experience to personal agencies who 


are not members of human society. But after we have 
excluded superhuman we may fall back upon human agency 
as a cause of events, and if we trace any event to the human 
will, we are still recognizing spiritual causation. Natural- 
ism, then, if it is used to describe the philosophy of this 
book, means the recognition of only such spiritual agencies 
as are within the organism of human society, and the doc- 
trine it opposes is only that supernaturalism which insists 
on recognizing the intervention in human affairs of intelli- 
gences beyond the pale of humanity. But how cliunsy and 
awkward are both these words to convey such meanings I 
For this reason, I have occasionally presumed to adopt the 
term "spiritism" and avoid the word "supernaturalism." 

But even the word "spiritism" is very inadequate. It 
is generally limited to the theories of those who call them- 
selves modem spiritualists, and it has never been made 
to cover the spiritistic implications in ordinary Christian 
theology. I have, therefore, qualified the word and spoken 
of "Christian spiritism." But there is a still deeper objec- 
tion to the term. The word "spirit" ought by right to be 
applied as much to a personal agency living in a hiunan body 
as to one that is bodiless. The latter is no more spirit 
than the former. To designate by the word only those 
agencies beyond the pale of political society is to rob human 
agencies of a useful epithet and is to imply imjustly and 
illogically that a moral agent in a human body is somehow 
more akin in its nature to mere matter and blind force 
than is an imembodied agent ; whereas it is easy to see that 
a spirit is no less spiritual when it animates a body than 
when denied a tenement of clay. I hope I have said enough 
to prevent any critic from confusing the naturalism of the 
religion for which I plead with materialism of any kind 

For the word "naturalism" must be retained, even at 
the risk of its being misunderstood by i)ersons lacking in 



acuteness of discrimination and logical rigour. There is no 
other word that indicates the inexorable uniformity of the 
sequences of mental as well as of phjrsical phenomena. 
Like John Stuart Mill, one may resolve all phjrsical phenom- 
ena into sensations, and the whole reality of the phjrsical 
universe into a system of permanent possibilities of sensa- 
tion. One then abandons completdy the materialistic 
dogma ; but one retains the validity of the law of uniform- 
ity. This law constitutes nature ; for nature, whatever else 
it is, is at least a system of permanent possibilities of sensa- 
tion. Such an interpretation is, in fact, idealistic, for it 
declares that the physical universe has no existence except 
in so far as it is or may be perceived. Thus one may hold 
to the theory that to be perceived and to be are the 
same thing, and still one may remain a naturalist. Indeed, 
all disciples of Lnmanuel ELant affirm the universal and 
necessary validity of the law of cause and eflfect. They be- 
lieve in the integrity of nature ; and yet they do not believe 
that nature has any existence except as it is perceived by 
the observing mind. The teaching, therefore, which I 
have been advocating may equally well be called idealistic 
or humanistic realism. But the best name for it might 
be idealistic hmnanism, for that term does not commit 
one to the philosophic crudity of believing that the physical 
universe exists independently of its being perceived. 

9. Man a Spirit 

When we cease to believe in the intervention of psychic 
agencies from beyond human society, it may be because 
we have a deeper insight into the nature of living human 
beings as spirits. Whatever trust we have withdrawn from 
the imembodied, we may have reason to transfer to em- 
bodied spirits. When we reject spiritism, we still have 
left both man as a moral agent and physical natiu-e ; and 


man by no means becomes reduced to a phenomenon or an 
epiphenomenon of physical nature. We may regard him 
wholly from the point of view that his mind is real and is a 
positive cause not only of events which take place within 
the realm of his own mind, but also of changes in his own 
body and in the physical world roimd about him. Ethical 
idealism, although it restricts itself absolutely to the 
study of the hearts and wills of living hmnan beings, deals 
essentially with Will as a creative cause. It recognizes 
the effect of mind upon outward nature through the human 
body. But no one coiild confuse it with atomism, material- 
ism, or a merely mechanical view of cause and effect. It is 
well nigh an imbecility to attempt to resolve hmnan pur- 
poses, affections and thoughts, human ideals and visions, 
and the distinctions between right and wrong, into differ- 
ences in the arrangement of atoms of matter. Although 
atomism may never for a moment be denied in the domain of 
ph)rsics and chemistry, it is an utter irrelevance in a scheme 
for the moral redemption of mankind; for ethics treats 
of realities wholly disparate from, although possibly always 
accompanying, material atoms. 

Professor Hoffding's book on " The Philosophy of Reli- 
gion" very clearly sets forth a distinction now widely re- 
cognized between science as a presentation of the relations 
of cause and effect in events, and ethics as a presentation 
of a scale of values or goods, Hoffding recognizes the 
validity of the law of imiformity in all mental events, but 
he maintains that the hierarchy of values is in no wise 
touched by the scientific arrangement of sequences. Even 
the scientific arrangement does not involve the acceptance 
of physical force or the atom as the ultimate and indepen- 
dent reality. But much less does the scale of values in- 
volve such an acceptance. Ethics starts with human 
purposes and ideals, with the human will and the human 
heart, in the same way in which physics and chemistry 


begin with sensations of the senses. It is, accordingly, no 
more shaken by any doubt as to the reality of the factors 
with which it starts than physics by any doubt as to the 
reality of time and space. 

While it has accorded with my argument to give here 
a succinct elucidation and defence of the principle by which 
I wish to test the rites and teaching of current reh'gion, 
it is inconsistent with my purpose to present now in detail 
the various applications of that principle to religious ex- 
periences in general. To do so would require a volimie by 
itself. My intention now is simply to try to justify the 
idea which I think should be concretely embodied in a 
nation's manuals of religious services. The idea I am sure 
will appeal to thousands and will find ready acceptance in 
the moral reason and emotional experience of many. It 
is already widely current and is the regulative principle 
of conduct with many American idealists. It is the in- 
spiration and consolation of those who in my judgment 
represent most truly the spirit of our age and the char- 
acteristic trend of American life. This book, therefore, is 
in the first instance not written for those to whom its pre- 
suppositions will not appeal; it seeks rather to win the 
cooperation of those already ripe for the thought it starts 
with. It hopes to convince them of the necessity of 
revising the language and forms of devotion prevalent in 
all the churches and of organizing public opinion so as to 
hasten the adoption of rites and ceremonies, of sermons, 
h)rmns, anthems, meditations, and lessons which shall be 
expressive of the living inheritance and purpose of national 
life to-day. 




I. The Rethinking of the Old Realities 

The supreme need of our day is not so much revision 
of statements as a rethinking of the realities to which the 
statements refer. Reinterpretation of terms has alwajrs 
been the chief method of progress in thought. A study 
of the evolution of religion exposes to view not so much 
a restatement of old truths as an attachment of new insight 
to the old words. The discovery of new religious truth 
has not been a discovery of another tmiverse ; it has been 
only a better understanding of the same, a fresh insight 
into the relations of the factors which were always there, 
but veiled. 

Accordingly it is as it should be, that throughout the 
ages the words used have not changed even where there 
has been a complete revolution of the understanding of 
the realities to which they pointed. Nor has the retention 
of the old words ever produced any confusion or mis- 
imderstanding. Indeed, to have introduced new terms, 
when one had only gained new light on an old factor, 
would have produced chaos and confusion. 

Let us not forget that the sun used to be thought of 
in a manner totally different from that in which we to-day 
perceive it and conceive it. To us it is an enormous 
sphere of light and heat, moving at a certain pace, possess- 
ing certain chemical properties, and so on. Such, of course, 
was always its reality. But our truth about it is new and 
scarcely has a point in common with the primitive con- 



ception of it. Yet with the new interpretation we have not 
discarded the word '' sun/' We have continued its use, 
and we read the new truths into the old term. Old words 
are never worn-out wineskins. CXu: justification for pour- 
ing new meanings into the word ''sun" is that the reality 
for which the term stood is still the same reality that it 
was when savages first named it. So with the stars. They 
are not to us what they were to men of primitive tribes ; 
but we need not on that account discard the word and 
invent a new term. I dte the case of the sun and stars 
as typical of all the factors in the physical universe. Our 
view of that tmiverse is new, but the words to designate 
its factors and phenomena are, as they ought to be, the 
same old words. If we turn from the physical universe 
to the human world, we find the same law : the growth of 
new ideas and the retention of old words with changes of 
meaning corresponding to that growth. Woman, in the 
twentieth century after Christ, is beginning to be looked 
upon as a being essentially different in nature and powers, 
rights and privileges from what she has hitherto been 
understood to be. Yet it were the merest folly on account 
of any such evolution and revolution of our understanding 
of her to drop the term ''woman" and invent a new sign 
in speech to stand for our new conception of her. Like- 
wise with the word "child." Children, like women and 
like the physical imiverse, are newly revealed to our under- 
standing; but there is no occasion for not calling them 
children. No embarrassment or misimderstanding will 

The same situation holds concerning religious termi- 
nology and the new conceptions of the factors in our deeper 
moral experience. When we discard supematuralism, we 
do not discard any of those elements of fact in exp)erience 
which were the occasion that induced our primitive an- 
cestors to adopt a supematuralistic interpretation of the 


inner moral life. If we follow the analogy of the evolu- 
tion of language in all other departments of exi)erience, 
we shall retain the word "God" and all the rest of the 
nomenclatiu'e of religion, to denote the factors in our pres- 
ent experience which perform the same fimctions that 
were designated under the supematuralistic terminology. 

2. Theological Terms Indispensable 

Many times in the foregoing pages I have used theo- 
logical terms to indicate factors and relationships in a 
naturalistic scheme for the moral training of the hmnan 
race. So entirely do the reinterpretation and revision of 
the forms of public worship which I advocate depend 
upon the justifiability and expediency of such a use, that 
it may not be amiss to examine here, with some degree 
of thoroughness, the general question of terminology. 
Without reintroducing argmnents set forth incidentally 
in the preceding chapters, I shall attempt to deal with 
questions which have not been directly considered. 

In the first place, let me point out that what are called 
theological terms are also the only specifically religious 
expressions. If we discard them, we deprive ourselves 
altogether of the language of religious life and practice. 
Even the word " religion " itself is a theological term, inas- 
much as theology is always a theory which justifies religion. 
This being the nature of theology, one may fairly say that 
if the word " religion " be not a Geological term, then there 
is no such term. Or take the word " God." Of dl language, 
there is no expression more essentially of the nature of 
religion. Yet theology is, as the very word implies, a 
doctrine of God. If, then, the word "CJod" be not a theo- 
logical term, theology has no term of its own. The word 
"prayer" designates the distinctive act of religion; yet 
whoever has studied theology knows that theology on that 


very account is chiefly a theory of prayer. Of course the 
words "religion," "God," and "prayer" are first religious 
and then theological. But this is true of the whole lan- 
guage of theology. It possesses no terms which are not 
first religious. Its nomenclature is wholly borrowed from 
religion. Such being the case, it becomes self-evident, as 
I stated above, that if we discard all theological terms, we 
rob religion of its own language. This result would not 
seem a calamity to one who had abandoned religion al- 
together, but one who means to retain it must feel the 
necessity of retaining its verbal notation. And the fact 
that that notation is also the language of theology will not 
for an instant tempt him to discard it — at least, if he has 
a full grip of the situation. Unhappily there are many 
persons who have not. 

3. Religion and Theology 

Many imagine that if we retain theological terms, we 
commit ourselves to some existing system or other of 
theology. But this is a mistake which our foregoing ana- 
lysis clearly exposes to view. The language was religious 
before it became theological, and it may return to its orig- 
inal state of innocency. A man may use the words " God," 
"prayer," and "religion," and recognize them as elements 
in a possible system of theology, and yet temporarily have 
suspended judgment as to whether any system so far pro- 
poimded is or is not true. 

But I wish to plead for the retention of religious ter- 
minology not simply to indicate factors and relations in 
the religious life, but also as elements in a new system of 
theology. Many persons who think for themselves have 
grown to loathe theology and all its works ; and yet they 
cling to religion. They respect the religious man; but 
they turn the cold shoulder upon the professed theologian. 


They will not listen to him. Religion, they say, is a life, 
an attitude of mind, a thing of the heart and the will, which 
is good. But theology, they say, is only theory, and it is 
the theory of religion which philosophic criticism and scien- 
tific research have discredited. So, they urge, let us away 
with theology in the very name of religion. 

Now, in my judgment, this off-hand method of renoimc- 
ing theology and all its works is suicidal. To discard all 
theory of religion is to play into the hands of those who 
are experts in manipulating the emotions and the will, 
without appealing to himian intelligence. There is no 
more fit victim for the religious demagogue than the person 
who protests against theology altogether, and yet attempts 
to be religious and to respect religion in others. What 
finer subject for the priest who assiunes to control other 
men's souls, than the man who boasts that it is well to have 
a God, but folly to attempt to have a theory of God ? A 
religion which bars out all theology is a religion minus 
theory ; and religion minus theory is religion minus intel- 
lect. And that, in turn, is exactly what the enemies of 
himian reason have always commended in the laity. 

If any sort of religious discipline is to be preserved, we 
must set out in search of a new theory the moment we put 
aside the current systems of dogma. We must analyze 
religion afresh, and its relations to the rest of life and of 
experience in general. We must bring also our construc- 
tive faculties to bear, for although we may never attain an 
absolutely rational system, we must hold tentatively as 
consistent a theory of religion as we can attain, to serve us 
as a working hypothesis for religious practice. The new 
theory may contradict every point in the current systems 
of dogma, and, when applied to life, it may overthrow the 
rites and ceremonies of existing cults ; but it will be a new 
theology pitted against the old. 

The notion prevalent amongst so-called advanced 


thinkers, that theology is necessarily based upon authority 
and opposed to reason, is wholly false. It is certainly 
conceivable that a tentative theory favourable to religion 
might be constructed without contradicting or transcending 
experience, and without violating the method and spirit of 

4. The Word ''Theology'' 

Theology, then, is the first theological term which we 
must retam if any sort of rational religion is to be preserved. 
We must retain it in the name of reason and science. If 
we are to have religion, we must have a theory of religion, 
and to have a theory of religion is to have a theology. 
Inconceivable is it that persons should refuse, in the name 
of science, to seek for a theory of God, and yet retain a 
belief in him. 

It is easy to see the consistency of those who, in dis- 
carding religion, discard theology ; the one act necessitates 
the other. When they abandoned the hope of a theory 
about God, they did so because they had abandoned God. 
He had become to them nothing. But the reverse pro- 
cess is by no means a necessity. One may discard every 
known theory of God, yet retain God, and make him 
the starting-point, the element of fact, from which to 
construct a new theory. It is evident that we must 
discriminate between theology and every or any sp>ecial 
system of theology. As one may reject the sociology 
of Comte and Spencer and every other sociologist and 
yet not abandon sociology as a task and an ideal goal 
of scientific effort, so also one may reject the current 
theologies and cling the more tenaciously to theology as 
a theory yet incomplete. Making this discrimination, 
we may say that if theology must go, religion must go; 
and that if religion is to stay, theology must stay. If 
we are to retain a belief in anjrthing which we call God, 


or which performs the same function in the economy of 
experience as that performed by what other people call 
God, it is a primal necessity of critical thought to con- 
struct the best possible doctrine of God. 

There are some who imagine that a new scientific and 
rational theory to justify a scientific and rational religion 
should not be called theology, but should be described as 
ethics. But an acquaintance with the history of religion 
shows that no theory of ethics or of the moral life can 
possibly cover all the facts of the religious life of man. 
In the first place, there have been hundreds of religions 
which have not been essentially or even perceptibly 
ethical. Religions have only gradually become ethical. 
The best historical judgment also sanctions the statement 
that morality is by no means essentially religious. The 
moral experience and the moral judgments of men have 
developed out of commerce, politics, and other spheres 
of experience which the religious consdoii^ess scarcely 
touched at all, or, at most, only incidentally. Only after 
the moral life and the theory of morals were considerably 
advanced did they enter into, give colour, and dictate 
the shape to the rites and dogmas of religion. It is 
altogether imcritical and xmsdentific, therefore, to set up 
any theory of morals as a theory of religion. It is almost 
as unscholarly as it would be to set up religion to accoimt 
for morality. 

We may approach this question of the relation of 
ethics to theology from another point of view. Ethics 
is a theory of right and wrong, of human ends, and of 
standards of human conduct. If one turns to the books 
which have been written by ethical thinkers, one sees 
that they treat of the questions: what is right, what is 
wrong, what is the essential characteristic of right con- 
duct as distinct from wrong, what peculiar activities of 
the human mind are involved in arriving at the dis- 



tinction between right and wrong, how do men's moral 
judgments vary with their varying experiences, is there an 
absolute and universal standard of right? These are the 
problems which ethics covers. There is another question, 
however, which ethics never has been made to cover, and 
nobody who understands the subject-matter has ever yet 
suggested that it should now be made to cover. That 
question is. Is the universe favourable or imfavourable 
to the realization of our moral ideals? Granting that 
we have standards of conduct and of character, granting 
that there be certain ends of human life which we sanc- 
tion as great and good and worthy of our devotion, what 
are the chances that we can ever fulfil these standards 
and attain these ends? This question involves in itself, 
as is quite plain, the problem of man's moral weakness, 
incapacity, and i)erversity. Put in another way, the 
question is, Are men bad? If they are, is it in the 
nature of things possible that they may become good? 
If they can become good, what are the instrumentalities 
by which the cure is to be effected? And even of men 
whom we call good, are they absolutely good? If not, 
what is the cause of the deficiency ? 

This problem of evil in life and therefore in the 
universe — how is it to be solved? If even good men 
have a touch of badness in them, how are they to become 
absolutely good? Here are questions most intimately 
and vitally connected with ethics; and still, by the con- 
sensus of all philosophers, they are outside of ethics 
proper. They deal not with what is right and wrong 
and how we come to know what is right and wrong; 
they deal with the existence of evil, and how we are to 
put an end to evil and establish a reign of righteousness 
on earth. The relation of life or the imiverse to the 
moral ideal, the degree in which the universe is favour- 
able or adverse — this is not a problem of ethics. Even 


as I have been stating it, my readers must have realized 
that it is the question of ethical religion and of the theory 
of ethical religion. Theology as tiit theory of religion 
and of God is quite dearly a theory as to the relation of 
the universe to human ends and ideals; and the relation 
of the universe to ethical ideals becomes the specific 
problem of theology the moment religion has become 
ethical. Then the question as to the existence of Grod 
is whether there be any great power, tendency, or Being 
favourable to the actualization of our standards of duty. 
Within us has grown up a terrific sense of personal 
responsibility, an overwhelming feeling that we are under 
obligations to walk certain paths and to set our eyes 
on certain goals. But is it possible in this universe, with 
our himian nature, to fulfil the task that we feel in our 
inmost heart must be done or we fail and forfeit self- 
respect ? 

No one, even of those who reject both theology and 
religion, can deny that this, philosophically stated, is the 
import and significance of both. Persons may reject 
every theory as to the favourableness or luifavourableness 
of conditions to the realization of our moral ideals, but 
then they are face to face with a further problem. They 
must decide whether they will reject not only the 
theoretical, but also the moral, problem before them. 
Will they drive out of mind, in their daily business and 
in the midst of all their aspirations and sufferings, the 
whole question as to whether it is feasible to lead what 
they regard to be the right life ? If they reject not only 
the theory as to the relation of the imiverse to the feasi- 
bility of the right life, but also the practical problem it 
involves, they reject not only theology, but religion. And 
if they reject this practical problem of religion, it would 
seem as if they must somehow suffer in their moral life. 
They would still retain the distinction between right and 

x8o rnz soul of America 

wrong ; but, granting that there is such a thing as wrong, 
they would shirk the difficulty of finding means within the 
universe of overcoming it. 

We have now arrived at a point where in the very in- 
terests of the good life itself it would seem that we must 
resort to religion. For the religious life, when once moral 
judgments have coloured and outlined it, deals almost 
exclusively with the practical problem of toning up the 
motive to do right by finding circumstances favoiurable 
to morality. Thus we have come out again to the 
conclusion that theology must stand if morality as a life 
is to stand. It would seem that those persons who, in 
the name of the ethical life, reject every particular system 
of theology which has prevailed in the past must do so 
on accoimt of the beginnings of some coimter-theory 
of religion which has begim to crystallize itself in their 
reason. For righteousness' sake they must find some 
sort of a theory of the relation of the imiverse to the 
human ideal. Otherwise it is almost inconceivable that 
morality as a life could flourish. Therefore I would rescue 
the term theology from the clutch of those who wish to 
limit it to their own peculiar theory of religion. 

It argues a lack of philosophical knowledge and training 
to imagine that there is no theology except there be a 
belief in superhuman agencies. Discard that belief, 
and still the universe remains, the moral ideal remains, 
and the question is to be solved as to the adverseness 
or favourableness of the imiverse to the ideal. If one 
holds, as I do, that the moral ideal is itself a part of the 
universe and that the idealistic trend in human life is 
natural, the problem becomes one as to the relation of 
the whole of the universe to a part of it. And it would 
seem that one who has discarded the supematuralistic 
hypothesis would not only be more keenly interested than 
before in the problem of theology, but would have a surer 


basis for the expectation that the problem can be solved. 
Whether the solution would be more favourable to the 
right life than were the dogmas which he had rejected 
is another matter. But no one can deny that in and of 
itself the quality of being verifiable would be a factor in 
the new theory favourable to morality. We should know 
how we stood. We should know how to reckon with 
the imiverse; and this of itself would be an incalculable 
moral gain. For if there be anything that weakens moral 
purpose it is the twilight of imcertainty, the moving about 
in the half dark, not knowing whether or not our efforts 
may not be arbitrarily or at least incalculably thwarted. 
To know the worst is always better than not to know cer- 
tainly. But the only point for which I am contending 
here is that what we shall come to know about the relation 
of the imiverse to the human ideal must be called a theology. 
It will be an enormous stride towards the settling of reli- 
gious controversies and the clearing up of the problems of reli- 
gion, when scientifically trained men turn to the problem 
of the relation of the imiverse to human ideals and ends, 
and when so turning they know, and they make the public 
know, that they are theologians. 

5. The Word " Theism " 

The word "theism," like "theology," has been monopo- 
lized by the supernaturalists. But any doctrine con- 
cerning that factor in experience to which religion points 
when it sp>eaks of God should be called theism. If a natural- 
istic theory could explain better the elementary factor to 
which the word God points and throw more light upon the 
task which religion sets itself than supematuralism does, 
its claim to the word "theism" would be established. It 
might be impossible to prove that the real factor was a 
personal self-conscious agent. But what of that ? 


The word "monotheism" has also been unjustifiably 
monopolized by those who say that God is a personal 
agent over and above the personal agencies who are living 
human beings. If we can fix the factor which is pointed 
to by the word God, and if we find that there is only one 
such reality, then there is but one God. Our knowledge, 
systematized, would accordingly be monotheism — the 
science of the One God. Still greater would be the claim 
of such a doctrine to the term, if we foimd that our moral 
judgment backed the intuition of religious men and de- 
clared that there oughl to be but one God and that the 
real factor which is pointed to in positive religions is that 
which all men ought to worship. 

6. The Word " Atheist " 

Some object that the terms "theism" and "mono- 
theism" are exclusively theological, and not at the same 
time religious, like God and prayer. This stricture I am 
willing to accept ; but I have devoted a few sentences to 
them in order to lead up to the word "atheism," which, by 
derivation, is akin to "theism" and "monotheism," and 
yet is by no means limited to theoretical use or associated 
with the coolness of temper and the calm love of truth sup- 
posed to be characteristic of philosophical discussion. 
The word "atheism" has been venom on the tongue, when 
it darts out like a fang. One cannot deny that it is a 
religious term, although the religiousness be turned 
bitter and cruel. It is, moreover, an altogether indis- 
pensable word ; in proportion as one loves one's God 
and is jealous of his honour, one is in need of a term of 
utmost contempt and horror, to apply to those who 
deny or blaspheme or mock him. Men should not stand 
by and, without crying shame, allow others to insult that 
Being which is to them most real, to which they owe every- 


thing, and which they believe to be the only power that 
saves men. They must at least utter a word of moral 
censure. Nor may that word be mild. Under humanity, 
short of cruelty, indeed for the sake of humanity and with 
as much cruelty as is needed to be kind to those who reject 
that which one believes to be their best friend, the term 
of reproach must be the strongest which language affords. 
The word " atheist" has always emanated from such senti- 
ments of moral horror. There is thus nothing the matter 
with the word itself. It is wise and good. It is needed 
as an expression of a feeling which is inevitable in propor- 
tion as one reveres any reality as God. The only objection 
to it is that in the past it may have been hurled at the wrong 
persons. The question is, Who is the atheist and what is 
atheism? I answer, not without a touch of the emotion 
which those always feel whose God has been denied, that 
the prevalent notion about atheism is altogether erroneous 
and inhumanly imjust. The root of the error and injustice 
is the age-long fallacy that a god must be a supernatural 
personal agency, and that one who trusts to no personal 
agents except those who are living human beings is an 

The tables ought to be turned. This word of anathema 
should be hurled, as I think, against those who believe 
there is no God this side of the outer limits of man and 
nature. Such deny the good in man and nature to be 
God. They do not believe in the moral law itself as 
divine and yet as inunanent in hiunan personality. They 
insult human nature by a most polluting suspicion. I 
will not again attempt at this point to argue the respective 
merits of naturalistic and supematuralistic religion. I 
here wish to restrict myself logically to the question of 
religious terminology. As a matter of language, I assert 
it to be proper that everybody should brand as an atheist 
every one else who denies his God. Only those who have 


no God or having a God are unfaithful or indifferent to 
him should never presume to cast this epithet at others. 
In proportion as a man is filled and chilled with horror 
by the denial or ridicule of what he counts most sacred, 
in that proportion he has the right to hurl this term of 

I remember once, many years ago, sitting in a public 
meeting and listening to a political demagogue. He 
aroused uncontrollable merriment in his audience. Sit- 
ting near me was a clergyman, who entered into the rough 
but innocent fun. Suddenly, however, the demagogue 
quoted, in a flippant if not ribald manner, some saying of 
Jesus. Instantly the clergyman's face turned ashen white, 
and he sat throughout the rest of the meeting as one dead. 
Now any man, I maintain, to whom anything whatso- 
ever is as sacred as Jesus Christ was to that clergjrman, 
has a God. That man is religious; and he cannot help 
shrinking in horror from those who speak lightly of what 
to him is all-holy. They to him are atheists. And has 
he not a right to name them so? It would be a moral 
impoverishment of speech, were the word atheist to cease 
to be a term of reproach. It is a word which in the struggle 
of humanistic religion to establish itself there will be much 
need for. 

7. The Word ''Religion'' 

Let us now turn to the word "religion." It is a very 
common error to think that there are innumerable defini- 
tions of it, and that there exists some peculiar difficulty 
in finding out just what religion is. During the last 
twenty years, however, a line of investigation has been 
pursued assiduously by students in various countries, 
which is gradually clearing away whatever difficulty ex- 
isted. So long as i)eople turned simply to the etymology 
of the word, they got no further than two rival Latin 



origins ; and even when they attained the primary mean- 
ings of these two words, no light was thrown on the problem 
in hand. Likewise, the attempt to evolve out of certain 
fundamental principles what religion must be only led 
to hopeless pedantry and subtlety. During the last 
score of years, however, empirical psychologists have 
said: ''We will not go back to logic and abstract defini- 
tion, nor to the origin of the word; we will go straight 
to the lives of those men and women who the world over 
have been conspicuous for the attitudes of will and states 
of heart and acts and lines of conduct which are called 
religious. We will compare them and their lives with 
persons who are indifferent to religion, and then again 
with those who are conspicuous as being positively ir- 
religious." Now this is a truly scientific method of in- 
vestigation. What religion is, is not a question of words 
and is not primarily a question of logic. It is a question 
as to what lines of conduct, what qualities of heart, what 
dispositions of the will have struck the minds of observers 
as being distinctive, and have induced them to designate 
these qualities as religious. 

During recent years another cause of confusion has 
also been removed. In trying to find out what religion 
is, persons are often seeking to discover not what it is, but 
what it ought to be, what it would be if it were morally 
perfect. When they have foimd that, they have got not 
a definition, but a standard by which to gauge the moral 
worth of religious practices. Mistaking this standard 
for a definition, they generally end by declaring that there 
is only one religion, and that is their own. But in seeking 
to know what religion is, we ought to keep clear of the 
problem of what it should be morally. In seeking a defi- 
nition of it we must look only for that peculiarity which 
marks all its varieties and distinguishes it from everytUng 


If we keep in mind what we are looking for, we shall 
avoid another error into which many investigators have 
fallen. I refer to that which was committed by Mr. 
Herbert Spencer. He argued that if you collect the 
religious opinions of all men, and then, striking out all 
diflferences, retain only those beliefs and practices which 
are common to all, you get the universal religion. Edu- 
cationists in England during the last thirty-five years 
have fallen into a similar blunder. They have thought 
that they could find the essence of Christianity by dropping 
out the tenets peculiar to each sect and to the Church, and 
retaining what they taught in common. This they called 
undenominational religion, and they sought to make it 
the bond of union among all Christians. Now the trained 
psychologist would have known that often a man himself 
is not conscious of that which is his own peculiar char- 
acteristic. Likewise, two persons working together may 
not themselves be aware of their points of identity. They 
may be altogether lacking in self-criticism. Their opinions 
may by no means be an index to what they are. The 
psychologist might discover it to be the peculiarity com- 
mon to all persons so far as they are religious, that they 
focus their attention steadfastly and reverently upon some 
source from which they believe that they derive the greatest 
benefits, and from which they believe that they will de- 
rive still further benefits by this focussing of the attention. 
Yet it is quite possible that ninety per cent, of the persons 
whose reUgious life is scrutinized are totally unaware that 
they are exercising attention in practising reUgion. They 
may never have heard of such a thing. They may not know 
what the word "attention" means; they may never have 
observed the mental process, and be quite unacquainted 
with its peculiarities and its place in the economy of re- 
ligious discipline. But because a man does not know 
that he is focussing his attention is not the slightest proof 


against the assertion that he is. Thus, reverent attention 
to the source of life's chief blessings may be the distin- 
guishing mark of religion, and yet no religious person be 
aware of it as such. 

As a matter of fact, this is what psychologists have 
discovered in regard to religion. Religion is the focussing of 
men^s attention steadfastly and reverently upon some Source 
from which they believe that they have derived the greatest 
benefUSy in order to derive stUl further benefits. ''Benefits," 
it should be observed, are not limited to external advan- 
tages to oneself. At least, I use the word here so broadly 
as to include the advantages to one's country or to the world 
which one desires. Whatever we long to see actualized as 
a blessing to others, we cannot but count as a benefit to 
ourselves. Hence, let no reader interpret the term in a 
lower sense, and think the man necessarily selfish who prays 
for benefits. 

This focussing of the attention may be more or less 
systematized. The more systematized it is, the more 
highly developed is the religion. This systematization 
may consist in an elaboration of thoughts, of disciplines, 
and of forms and ceremonies. 

What makes a form or ceremony religious is that it is 
an instrumentality for thus focussing the attention stead- 
fastly and reverently. What makes a thought or doctrine 
or dogma religious is the same. So, too, with any disci- 
pline like fasting or prayer. It is religious when it is an aid 
to what is the essential psychological peculiarity of religion. 

The differences in religions never consist in the total pres- 
ence or absence of this peculiarity, but in the degree to which 
it is present and in differences as to the object to which 
attention is steadfastly and reverently turned. It follows 
inevitably that those who thus look to the sun will be 
different in their religion from those who turn their at- 
tention, in order to receive fu^er benefits, to some do- 


mestic animal like the ox or elephant, or to the lightning, 
or to a fountain of water welling up in the desert, or to 
nature-demons, or to trees. Religions, however, do not 
differ merely because the objects attended to are not the 
same. They are felt by us to vary in worth according to 
the ethical effects of attending reverently to the objects 
they set up. 

Religions differ also in their rational value. If the object 
to which attention is turned is a pure figment of the mind, 
a creation of the fantasy, if it be something which to the 
scientific judgment does not exist, the religion is an error, 
and hence a superstition. Religions also vary in general 
practical value as well as moral and intellectual worth. 
The object set up for reverent attention may be either one 
to which it is a waste of time to turn, or one to which it 
pays to turn. For instance, attention to the stars was not 
primarily an ethical religion, but for shepherds and nomads 
in general it paid. By such attention, they came to know 
the regularities of the heavenly bodies at night, and so 
learnt when it was safe to move and when discreet to wait 
where they were. 

We have foxmd, then, a strictly scientific definition of 
religion. It covers every case and includes nothing which is 
not religion. It is true that there are some practices in the 
least-developed forms of religion which seem to contradict 
the qualification that in religion there is a turning of the 
attention reverently to some supposed source of blessings. 
The case is cited of savages who get out of patience with 
the objects they worship, and beat them, to pimish them. 
But it becomes quite clear that in proportion as human 
beings beat their gods, in that proportion their religion 
ceases. If these feelings of contempt became habitual 
and constant, it is evident that the being so maltreated 
would cease to be a god. On the whole, the fetich-worship- 
per respects the Being from which he thinks to derive bene- 


fits. He, of all religious persons, pays the respect in order 
to secure further favours. The respect may be external, but 
then his whole life lacks inwardness. It is, moreover, only 
in the most rudimentary stages of religion, i.e. when it 
can scarcely be detected as a religion at all, that we see such 
deviations from reverence. 

The same comment holds good in regard to the qualifi- 
cation of steadfastness. In proportion as a man is not 
steadfast in his attention to the source of his greatest 
benefits, he is not reUgious. He has reUgious moments 
or days or seasons only, but these, are all marked by the 
qualities I have specified. 

It will be further noticed that I have limited the benefits 
derived by implying that they are only the greatest. For 
one would not turn one's attention steadfastly and rever- 
ently to the source of benefits which were not highly prized. 

A man may err fatally as to what object it is worth while 
to attend to. The benefits which he derives may prove, 
in the issue, to be things not worth making life's chief 
concern. There have been many religions, tlie object of 
which was to increase pleasures of special kinds, and the 
result has been the downfall of the men and the nations 
who cultivated attention to the means towards such ends. 
It must have become quite clear, then, that religion is a 
term which should not be used as if it always stood for a 
wise mental practice. Religion is not always beneficent 
in its effects. Those persons err in judgment who say that 
any religion is better than none. The simple innocence of 
no religion is better than the focussing of the attention 
steadfastly and reverently upon the means towards ends 
the pursuit of which leads to effeminacy, disease, and the 
extinction of a race. Accordingly it is a regrettable use 
of current speech which identifies the word religion with 
what one regards to be the only true and right religion, 
for all sorts of illogical inferences are made. 


But the chief advantage, for our purpose here, of a 
sound definition of religion is that it exposes the absurdity 
of those who declare that religion always has to do with 
the supernatural and with belief in personal agencies who 
are not living members of human society. It is perfectly 
true that many religions have been the focussing of attri- 
tion steadfastly and reverently upon such agencies. But 
to say that all religions have to do with the supernatural 
is mere blindness to the facts of religious life. It must, 
however, be pointed out that naturalism in a reli^on is 
only one characteristic in its favour. Natural beings vary 
in dignity and worth. It is worse than a waste of time to 
attend devoutly to some of them. It must also be noted 
that an object might be conceived of as purely naturalistic 
and yet be wholly imaginary. One might believe that there 
was a Mahatma in Thibet and attend to him as a source of 
spiritual benefits. He might be conceived of as a living 
human being ; but if he did not exist, religion, so far as it 
trusted to him, would be worse than futile. 

8. The Word " God " 

Let us now turn to consider the significance of the word 
"god." May it or may it not justly be used as a term to 
designate a natural object? It must be quite clear that 
in our definition of religion is already involved the definition 
of the word "god." If religion be as I have defined it, 
then any object towards which steadfast and reverent 
attention is turned, in order to derive the greatest blessings, 
is a god. Any object, natural or supernatural, moral, im- 
moral or non-moral, actual or imaginary, mental or phy- 
sical, abstract or concrete, powerful or weak, becomes a god 
the instant steadfast and reverent attention is focussed 
upon it for the purpose of gaining the supreme blessings. 

Our definition inunediately exposes to view the fact 


that a being is not a god by virtue of any inherent quality 
in itself, but only by virtue of a relationship established 
towards it by a human being. To bear this fact in mind 
throws a helpful light upon the use of religious terms in 
general and the fimdamental problems of religion. 
People ask: What is God? but they forget or have 
never realized the import of the question they put. 
They mean : What is that real being which men aught 
to focus their steadfast and reverent attention upon in 
order to derive from it those benefits which are really 
the greatest blessings to mankind? They are asking a 
moral and a scientific question. In its scientific aspect 
the search is for a real, as distinct from an imaginary, 
being. They want the true God, for nothing can be 
more terrible than the suspicion and scepticism that, 
after all, the being one has been reverently attending to 
may not exist at all. The question in its moral aspect, 
assuming that the being is real, inquires whether it 
actually is the source of the highest good. But all the 
while it is clear that the word god does not refer to an 
inherent quality of the object itself, but to the fact or the 
moral requirement that men turn, or ought to turn, their 
reverent attention towards it. 

Akin to the question. What is God ? is the often-heard 
inquiry, Is there a God? Again, light is thrown upon 
the nature of this question by substituting for the word 
god the definition of it. To ask, Is there a God? is to 
ask whether there be in very fact any source from which 
supreme blessings will be gained if one attends steadfastly 
and reverently to it. 

It will be seen, in pointing out that there are many 
different beings or supposed beings which people attend 
to, that there are, as an actual fact of human experience, 
many gods. It will further be clear, however, that there 
can be only one true and living God, only one Being 




whom we covld speak of not simply as a god, or as t 
god, but as God. God must be the real Being frc 
whom the highest conceivable good is derived if ^ 
attend to him. In the light of these explanations, h( 
foolish is the contention of the majority of persons th 
a god is not a god unless he be a personal agency who 
not a human being ! If there be a supreme good ai 
that supreme good be attainable by any natural and hum; 
means, then that natural and biunan means surely is the re 
and all-worthy source of the highest conceivable blessing 

Now, there are those who contend that a naturalisi 
humanist should altogether drop the word god. M 
these same persons may agree that it is necessary for t 
humanist to focus his attention reverently and steadfast 
upon the natural source from which the greatest benefi 
of life come. But, in the name of common sen 
and literary usage, of accuracy and of the need 
making oneself understood, I ask them why should i 
drop the word god if it is a term which is always applii 
to anything whenever it is treated in the manner 
which these persons concede we ought to treat a certa 
verifiable source of human blessings ? Because sor 
other person's gods are supernatural does not make t 
object we attend to any the less a god. One might 
well refuse to call one's clothes "clothes," because t 
garments of beggars are repulsively unclean and toi 
Clothes do not simply mean good and expensive clothe 
so, gods are not simply those which we approve. Whi 
once we have cleared up this question of religious tern 
nology, we find that the question of naturalism or supt 
naturalism does not touch the essence of religion and t 
problem as to the existence of God. 

One who bears clearly in mind that the word gi 
is a purely relational term, applicable to any object 
which men steadfastly and devoutly attend, will see thi 


the moment a thing is so attended to, it is necessary not 
only to call that object by its own name, but also to call it a 
god; for its own name does not indicate that it is an 
object of worship, but the word god indicates exactly this. 
Suppose, then, that, following Matthew Arnold, we should 
teach that Goodness is God, there would be a lack of 
judgment displayed if any one should say: "Why not 
simply call Goodness, Goodness? What is the use of 
saying Goodness is God ? " Of course the answer is 
that when you say Goodness is Goodness, you have made 
no advance in thought; but when you say Goodness is 
God, if what you say is true, you have added the state- 
ment of a relationship in which some person stands or ought 
to stand to Goodness. You have said that Goodness either 
is or ought to be the reality worshipped. To feel that the 
word god becomes superfluous because we know what the 
object is which is worshipped would be as if a man, know- 
ing his wife's name to be Mary, should imagine that 
there were no occasion for calling her his wife. But 
when he says, "Mary is my wife," he says very much 
more than "Mary is Mary." Likewise it would be an 
astonishing proposal that we should never speak of Mr. 
Woodrow Wilson as the President, but simply as Mr. Wilson. 
One might ask, How should we ever communicate the fact 
that Mr. Woodrow Wilson is President if we never called 
him the President ? The only way would be a circumlocu- 
tion, by which in place of the word we should introduce the 
definition of "President." And so, as the word god is a 
relational term, we must use it if we wish to designate the 
relation. Nor let any one imagine that this defence of my 
use of the word god as applying to Goodness, which I 
think is the object worthy of supreme worship, is alto- 
gether superfluous. During the last twenty years I have 
been reiterating in ethical societies that as an actual fact 
Goodness and all living tendencies that make for its realiza- 


tion constitute the God of those who are sincere and clear- 
thinking members of such societies. The result has been 
that many a time the criticism has been offered, ''Even if 
we do reverence whatever makes for Goodness as the su- 
preme necessity and reality of life, why need we call it 
God ? Why not simply say that Goodness is Goodness ?" 
The answer is that to many a person Goodness maybe Good- 
ness, and yet not be that person's God. The general use 
of relational terms justifies, and the need of commimicating 
our thought necessitates, our calling Goodness our God. 

In connection with the naturalistic use of these two 
terms god and religion, I would have my readers 
clearly understand that in declaring that Goodness is God, 
I do not imply that goodness has always been everybody's 
god. Even implicitly and imconsciously men have not 
by any means always been worshipping goodness. But 
I do contend that ancient Judaism was an ethical religion, 
and that the Jews were worshipping Righteousness as a 
Real Power in the world, and that Righteousness there- 
fore was their God. I declare the same in regard to the 
founders of Christianity and the Christian theologians of 
all ages. In spite of themselves, despite their metaphysical 
theories and their growing insistence upon the supernatural 
character of the being they worshipped, they nevertheless 
were devoutly ethical. Moral attributes, moral acts were 
the power which they saw and felt to be the source of the 
highest blessings to mankind. Their religion and their 
God may not have been exclusively, but were supremely, 
ethical and naturalistic. The fact must not be overlooked 
that supematuralism does not exclude the natural in the 
sense that naturalism excludes the supernatural. Persons 
who believe in the supernatural also believe in the natural, 
while the naturalist excludes every factor which one cannot 
believe in except on the supposition that there exist personal 
agencies who are not living members of human society. 



I. The God of the Bible 

It is sometimes difficult to imderstand how Christian 
theologians dare stake their reputation as educated men 
upon the statement that it is a misuse of the word God 
to apply it to anything but a supernatural being. The 
comparative study of religions has been going on for a 
hundred years, and it is inexcusable for a person to speak 
as if he had never heard of any religion except those which 
set up a personal Creator of the universe as the object of 

It is also growing difficult to imderstand how theologians 
can any longer assert that the doctrine of a personal Creator 
of the universe is the essential presupposition and the mes- 
sage of the Old and New Testament teaching. For half a 
century scholars have imearthed the truth, which Matthew 
Arnold and Sir John Seeley so ably set forth, that the Biljle 
is not a book concerned chiefly with a life after death or a 
speculative doctrine about an infinite personal Creator and 
Governor of the universe. It is becoming an illiteracy of 
a kind that one ought to be ashamed of, so to misunder- 
stand the Bible. And, as I believe, we shall find the current 
forms of public worship, if we analyze them, essentially 
naturalistic ; their supreme interest is the moral perfection 
of men on earth, and their supreme means are those which 
are verifiable, are at hand in human experience and equally 
at the disposal of those who totally reject all supernatural- 



When we turn from mere definition to literary usage, 
we find not only that those poets and prose writers who 
have been endowed with the finest sense for the differences 
between words employ the word god exactly in the ways 
which our definition would justify and establish ; we further 
find that poets, somehow instinctively, in their better and 
higher moods designate as God Human Goodness itself. 
Take even so unlikely a writer as Swinburne, and you will 
find such stanzas as this : — 

A creed is a rod. 

And a crown is of night; 
But this thing is God, 

To be man with thy might. 
To grow straight in the strength of thy spirit, 
and live out thy life as the light. 

If God can never refer to anything but the personal Creator 
of the universe, this sentence makes no sense. Who could 
say that the personal intelligent First Cause of the universe 
is '' to be man with thy might " ? If, again, it be maintained 
that this is only a poetic and literary use, it must be an- 
swered that that is nothing against it. It is poetic and 
literary, but it is absolutely exact and precise. Let us 
substitute in Swinburne's sentence for the word god the 
definition of God which we have arrived at above, and it 
will read : This thing is that which is supremely worthy of 
being attended to steadfastly and reverently in order to get 
the greatest blessings possible to man — to be man with thy 
might. Manliness, in short, is the thing which should be 
reverently attended to. 

Or let us turn to the use of the word god found in a poem 
written by a former Secretary of the English Rationalist 
Press Association. Mr. Hooper is a professed Rationalist. 
Yet we find that he does not discard the word god. On 
the contrary, he appUes it not only in a naturalistic, but in 


a purely ethical, sense. The poem to which I refer is en- 
titled "The Spirit of Man," and it begins, "Spirit of Man, 
ascend thy throne." Still addressing the Spirit of Man, the 
poet continues : — 

That path where saints and prophets trod 
To one supreme confession leads : 
The god in man — for man — is God. 

Be thou that God enthroned below, 

With calm-eyed Truth at thy right hand, 
Who bids us dare all doubts, to know 

What men can fitly understand. 
Be Knowledge linked to Love and Peace, 

Break down the barriers of pride. 
That self, self-centred, may decrease. 

And thou, the boundless Self, abide I 

Again applying our definition, we find the absolute exac- 
titude of the poet's terminology. He wishes that the 
spirit of man should be the power to which men turn their 
attention steadfastly and reverently in order to receive 
the highest blessings. What could make more fitting 
sense ? What greater proof of the accuracy of a definition 
can one find than that one can substitute the definition for 
the word wherever the word is used by the best writers 
and the sense will not only be preserved but elucidated ? 

2. The Personality of God 

As the personification of certain factors in moral experi- 
ence is involved in the very form of prayer, it may be well 
here to call attention to what personification is. 

We personify when we attribute in speech the qualities 
of personal agencies to factors which we do not believe to 
be self-conscious. Now, the question that arises is this : Is 
personification an exaggeration ? Do we feel less intimate 


spiritually with impersonal than with personal beings? 
Towards that which cannot consdonsly love us do we in 
fact feel a less absolute and glad sense of inward union 
than we experience with conscious beings? If we do, 
then to personify is to exaggerate the facts. If we do 
not, personification is legitimate, expedient, and truly 
poetic. If you feel nearer to America than you have ever 
felt towards any individual living person, if you have foimd 
more peace or more of love's solicitude in the thought of 
her, more inspiration in her history, and have been more 
ready to die for her than for any one human being, then to 
personify America is still for you to fall short of the truth 
that is in you. For you to personify America is to come 
nearer to the reality of your relationship towards her than 
if you did not, but it is not to reach the full truth. Thus 
personification becomes a necessity of expression. 

If, then, Emerson be filled with the sense of the absolute 
reality of Virtue, Emerson must personify Virtue. In so 
doing he will not go beyond the literal truth ; he will not 
even reach it. The mystics have always personified the 
ethical realities. But, in proportion as their vision was 
clear, they have never dogmatically or metaphysically or 
literally attributed personality to the great tendencies of 
which they find and feel themselves to be an essential part. 
To do so would have been to lose grip of the facts which 
inspired the personification. 

There is another peculiarity in the language of poetic 
personification which in the judgment of some renders its 
use impossible for naturalists in religion. This is the 
application of the masculine pronoun to the factor which 
is called God. How can virtue be called **He"? And 
why '^He'' instead of "She"? But why either? Why 
not '^ It '' ? The answer is that if " It " be used, the personi- 
fication is lost. We human beings are acquainted with no 
personal agents that are not either masculine or feminine. 


Oiir speech has no pronouns to apply to a personal agent or 
to a bemg personified, except those which are either mas- 
culine or feminine. Like Mr. William Watson, we may 
all lament that we 

must use a speech so poor 
It narrows the Supreme with sex. 

So the fault, if it be a fault, of calling goodness ''He" 
when it is personified, is a fault inherent primarily in the 
limitations of human experience. But when we personify, 
we know perfectly well, imless we have lost our reason, 
that the object personified is neither masculine nor feminine, 
and has no attributes of sex. It is therefore childish to 
protest against the use of the masculine pronoim to desig- 
nate the object we worship. 

Or, if there be occasion for protest against calling God 
"He," it is only because we ought perhaps to use the 
feminine pronoun. 

In speaking of the personification of virtues and of 
such social groups as America, I have implied that these 
are impersonal entities. But it is only the poverty of 
language which makes us divide all tUngs into personal 
and impersonal, and then use the word ''personal" as a 
term of praise and "impersonal" as one of disparage- 
ment, as if personal entities were always higher than 
impersonal. Now, it is true that they are higher than 
stocks and stones. If speech, however, were quite exact 
and adequate, and if our analysis and classification were 
complete, we should include imder "personal" all the 
attributes, functions, structures, and growths which 
emanate from personal agents. Virtue, love, mercy, 
pity are attributes of personality. They are of the nature 
of mentality; they have no existence apart from per- 
sons. Is it not, then, an error of classification and of 
speech to call these "impersonal"? The word "im- 


personal" ought to be used to indicate only non-personal 
entities or the attributes of non-personal entities. Now, 
my contention is that a quality which inheres exclusively 
in a personal agent must of its very nature be personal, 
and therefore should be comprehended under the terms 
'^ personal" and ''personality." So that if a man wor- 
ships Virtue as hk God, it is wholly misleading to de- 
clare that he worships something impersonal. The high 
dignity and value which we ascribe to personal agents 
must surely cover and embrace all the attributes peculiar 
to personality. No one, then, who worships the Moral 
Law or Duty or the Moral Sentiment ought to concede 
for a moment that his God is an impersonal one. In- 
stantly by so doing he plays into the hands of some wily 
opponent, who knows that if he can only brand these 
abstract qualities as ''impersonal," he attaches to them 
the disparagement which Uiat term carries with it. 

Instead of an abstract quality like Virtue, let us con- 
sider for a moment a concrete unity like the historic Chris- 
tian Church, or like America. Is the Christian Church an 
impersonal thing? It is made up of millions of personal 
agents, interacting and interdependent. It has no existence 
apart from these. Its very tissue is personality. Also its 
form and structure and fimctions are derived exclusively 
from the nature of personal agents. The Church is nothing 
more nor less than an organism consisting of persons. We 
ought not to say, then, Uiat the Church, or America, is an 
impersonal entity. 

If we are not to be allowed to apply the word 
"personal" to abstract moral qualities, then, to be quite 
exact, we ought to call them interpersonal. But we 
must remember that what is interpersonal cannot be 
classed as impersonal ; for the relationship between persons 
must be of the nature of personality. 

If concrete realities like the Christian Church or America 



cannot be fairly called personal, yet they are more than 
mterpersonal. They are not so much the bond between 
persons as the comprehensive unities overspanning a 
plurality of persons. In very fact, we have no experience 
of individual personal agencies who do not derive their 
existence from a social organism into which they were 
bom. It is equally true that there are no social organisms 
where there are no personal agents. A social organism, 
then, if it is not to be called personal, might very well be 
designated superpersonal. 

Thus, any one who worships either a concrete social 
group or an abstract moral quality may justly protest 
against the charge that his God is impersonal; he may 
insist that it is either superpersonal or interpersonal, or 

In order to offset the supersubtleties of his enemies, a 
man is sometimes compelled to cultivate an equally keen 
dialectic. But having once indicated the interpersonal 
and superpersonal character of Virtue and of organic 
groups of persons, he may well proceed confidently to 
declare that his God too is personal. 

It may further elucidate the factors which an analjrsis 
of prayer brings to view, if it be pointed out that the 
word spiritual preeminently applies to such realities 
as Virtue and sodal groups. No one could for a moment 
deny that that which is interpersonal and superpersonal 
is spiritual, even if he protested that it was not personal. 
The University of Cambridge is not, as the idealistic philo- 
sophers who live there have pointed out, a^ material thing ; 
it is a spiritual entity. If, then, a man worships America, 
or Humanity, or the Moral Ideal, or all of them, his God is 
imdeniably spiritual. But how strange it soimds to follow 
up such a concession by declaring that it is impersonal ! 
We never associate the word impersonal with the spiritual. 


3. " Worship,'' " Prayer,'' " Church " 

If our definition of religion is correct, it will not only 
provide us with a definition of the word ''god/' but also of 
the word "worship." For worship is used to describe 
the distinctively religious mental act. Now what, in fact, is 
worship but, as our definition would lead us to think, the 
turning of the attention steadfastly and reverently to a 
source of supreme blessings? The word worship then 
would strictly apply to the turning of reverent attention 
to human goodness, as the chief source of the supreme 
blessings of life. 

And is not this same turning of attention called prayer, 
when one's mind is especially focussed upon the blessings 
which one wishes to receive? It is the same act as 
worship, with emphasis thrown on the things desired. 

The word "church" is a theological and a religious term, 
the use of which cannot be discontinued with the adoption 
of a scientific view of the imiverse. A church is a society 
for the worship of a being whom its members believe to 
be the source of the supreme blessings of life. The churches 
differ if the beings differ which are worshipped. A naturalis- 
tic church would be one for the worship of a being which 
was a verifiable factor in human experience. If it be true, 
as I believe, that the Christian Churches have always 
essentially worshipped hiraian goodness as the real re- 
demptive power, tJien they have always been naturalistic, 
even if their champions thought and said to the contrary. 
We students of the psychology of religion may understand 
them better than they have ever understood themselves in 
the past. A naturalistic church, therefore, need not coimt 
itseU as essentially different from the great Christian 
Church. It is the Church at last awake and understanding 
itself better than before. We may, then, speak of the 
Church, meaning what it will ultimately be in its forms 


and dogmas, as well as what it has been in the unconsdous 
principle vitally controlling its life from the first. 

4. " Repentance,'' " Saint,'' '* Holiness " 

The essentially religious acts of worship and prayer 
may be deeply coloured by the consciousness that one 
has neglected one's religious duty. Then the religious 
act, instead of being wholly joyous, is tinged with a feeling 
of sorrow for the past neglect. The person is glad and sad 
at once, and we call him repentant. 

The forgiveness of sins is the inrushing of new con- 
fidence and strength and hope, due to the re&tablished 
relation between the worshipper and his God. Forgive- 
ness is a characteristic experienced in every religion, 
although it rises in the scale from the most superstitious 
to the wholly verifiable, and from the non-moral and 
immoral to the purely ethical types of rehgion. 

The word ''saint" must be retained in a naturalistic 
scheme of religion to indicate the person in whom the 
imion of the worshipper and the worshipped is habitual 
and for the most part dominant, so that any wayward 
impulses of his nature submit without protest to the 
spiritual discipline. And the word "holiness" must be 
kept as a term to designate the saint's ability to do right 
effortlessly. Some one has defined ethical religiousness 
as glad conscientiousness. The sense of duty is to most 
the sense of a burden and of a task that is heavy; the 
saint is one whose burden, strangely enough, lifts him 
instead of his having any longer to lift it. 

5. The Word ''Cknst" 

Most persons who have discarded the traditional theology 
have felt themselves called upon, in speaking of the 
Founder of Christianity, to drop the word "Christ" 

204 ra£ S0X7L OF AMERICA 

and restrict themselves to the name ''Jesus." But such 
a procedure on their part is again due to lack of con- 
structive insight and imagination. When we discard the 
supernatural offices of Christ, he does not become for us 
simply a private person. He remains still official as a 
Saviour of the world. Just as King George is both George 
and King even when the kingship to us implies no super- 
natural grace, or as President Wilson is both Wilson and 
President, irrespective of our theory of government, so 
Jesus Christ is both the individual and private person 
Jesus, and also the organizer, the point of departure, of a 
new movement, the representative of an objective and 
universal principle in man. Christ is the anointed one in 
that he is the embodiment, the illustration, and supreme 
instance of the Saviour and Redeemer of the world. The 
more one knows of the special mission of Socrates, the more 
one sees that Socrates is the philosopher and not the moral 
saviour of the world. The more one knows even of Buddha, 
the more one realizes that he is not the principle of pro- 
gressive manhood among nations, not the founder of a 
kingdom of righteous men on earth. Forever and ever 
Buddhism, by its denial of time and space and individual 
progressive existence as a good, has shut itself out, except 
for an Eastern people in their period of stationary sus- 
pension of ethical development, from rivalry with Chris- 
tianity. Buddhism will not redeem the world, whereas 
Christianity, if it be true to what the new criticism and the 
new knowledge of evolution reveal to our gaze, will establish 
a world-wide kingdom of righteousness for nations and 
individuals. Whether it ceases to call itself Christianity 
is a matter of indiflference. The Redeemer-principle, the 
Christ-principle, came to consciousness in the man Jesus, 
and he is therefore in the highest degree what the rest of 
us may in part attain. Even should any one ever in the 
future transcend him, still it will only be by him and in 



glad acknowledgment of the debt to him. There never 
can in the future be a dividing of the world into Christi- 
anity and not-Christianity. It will only be a new and 
more Christian Christianity, compatible with liberty and 
reason. Thus it seems that not only the word Christ ai^ 
the epithet of Jesus must be retained, but also the term 
Christianity must be applied to a civilization which 
has discarded all supematuralism and miracle and has 
ingrafted social democracy and science upon the tree that 
has now grown from the grain of mustard-seed which 
Christ planted. 

From another point of view, also, the word Christ is 
preferable for a naturalist to the word Jesus, to indicate 
the Foimder of Christianity. The authenticity of the 
personal life of Jesus, as narrated in the New Testament, 
has been questioned, so that, in the judgment of some 
whose scholarship and impartiality are to be respected, to 
speak of Jesus is to speak of a purely mythological or 
imaginary personage. But nobody (except Nietzsche), 
so far as I am aware, has ever denied the fact that in the 
New Testament there is figured forth an ideal or type of 
manhood worthy of our respect and admiration. Nor has 
any one ever doubted that this ideal has been the mighty 
power of the New Testament; and many would go so 
far as to say that, the ideal being there and commanding 
our spontaneous but rational admiration, it makes very little 
diflference whether the person Jesus was a myth or not. 
It would seem to me that the word Christ may well 
designate the ideal which the Gospels ^adow forth. For 
in the case of every individual person, whether mythical 
or historical, the ideal he suggests is the universal in the 
particular, is prior to it, is not fully realized in it, and will 
last independently of it when once it has dawned as an 
ideal upon the imagination of men. 

There is much discussion among supematuralists as to 


the nature of the Incarnation of God in Christ; while 
persons who have discarded the supematnralism seem to 
have lost all use for the word incarnation. Yet it must 
not be overlooked that this word is a very common one 
in everyday, non-religious speech and in general litera- 
ture. We say that a man is the very incarnation of 
selfishness or of loving-kindness; we sometimes even 
say that a man is the devil incarnate. And so there are 
a hundred phrases of this kind which are perfectly dear 
and legitimate. In all of them, however, it will be foimd 
that what is referred to as being incarnate is a principle, 
an idea, an abstract quality, a great tendency. Surely, 
then, of all human beings it must be said that in this 
sense Jesus was an incarnation; and few will deny 
that he was an incarnation of the Moral Ideal of 
Manhood. The principle of the beneficent service of 
mankind was incarnate in him. It is because he was an 
incarnation of this principle that thousands have lived 
by him and will to the end of time. The incarnation 
then must forever remain a fundamental conception of 
religion. No science, no social democracy can render 
to any degree superfluous this notion of incarnation. 
Incarnation is always the actualization of a universal 
principle in a particular moral agent. Until all men are 
incarnations of the principle of constructive moral benefi- 
cence, and to a higher degree, Jesus will remain pre- 
eminent, and, as I have indicated above, it is quite possible 
that, in proportion as he is approached or excelled, 
gratitude to him will increase rather than diminish. 

6. Matthew Arnold's Insight into Christian Meanings 

The presupposition which constitutes the working hy- 
pothesis proposed here for the revision of church services 
is one which has already received some acceptance. Even 


the application of it to the liistoric language of religion has 
been well begun. One of the chief pioneers in this under- 
taking was Matthew Arnold. In his '' Literature and 
Dogma" and his *'God and the Bible," with inexorable 
logic and dazzling brilliancy of insight he applied 
to the literature of the Old and New Testaments 
the principle of society as a self-feeding spiritual organ- 
ism. As the result of his investigation, he became con- 
vinced that the great writers of the Bible were purely 
and profoundly humanistic and naturalistic in the sense 
in which I have used these terms. He maintains that a 
man of disciplined mind and adequate scholarship, if im- 
biassed, cannot escape the conviction that all the Bible 
terms which are used to describe God refer to verifiable fac- 
tors in universal human experience. He goes even further, 
and would sanction a continuation of the use of the Church's 
favourite formula for the Trinity in a naturalistic sense. 
On this least likely subject, he arrives at profoimd and 
beautiful meanings for words and phrases which have been 
understood for centuries in other ways. In the chapter 
in ''Literature and Dogma," entitled ''Our Masses and the 
Bible, " he says : 

" Suppose the Bible is discovered, when its expressions are 
rightly understood, to start with an assertion which can be veri- 
fied: the assertion, namely, not of 'a Great Personal First 
Cause,' but of ' an enduring Power, not ourselves, that makes 
for righteousness.' Then by the light of that discovery we read 
and miderstand all the expressions that follow. Jesus comes 
forth from this enduring Power that makes for righteousness, is 
sent by this Power, is this Power's Son ; the Holy Spirit pro- 
ceeds from this same Power, and so on. 

" Now, from the innumerable minor difficulties which attend 
the story of the three supernatural men, this right construction, 
put on what the Bible says of Jesus, of the Father, and of the 
Holy Spirit, is free. But it is free from the major difficulty 


also ; for it neither depends upon what is unverifiablei nor is it 
unverifiable itself. That Jesus is the Son of a Great Personal 
First Cause is itself unverifiable; and that there is a Great 
Personal First Cause is unverifiable too. But that there fi an 
enduring Power, not ourselves, which makes for righteousness, 
is verifiable, as we have seen, by experience ; and that Jesus is 
the offspring of this Power is verifiable from experience also. 
For God is the author of righteousness ; now, Jesus is the Son 
of God because he gives the method and secret by which alone 
is righteousness possible. And that he does give this, we can 
verify again from experience. It «5 so ! Try, and you will find 
it to be so ! Try all the ways to righteousness you can think 
of, and you will find that no way brings you to it except the way 
of Jesus, but that this way does bring you to it ! And, there- 
fore, as we found we could say to the masses : 'Attempt to do 
without Israel's God that makes for righteousness, and you will 
find out your mistake T so we find we can now proceed farther 
and say: 'Attempt to reach righteousness by any way except 
that of Jesus, and you will find out your mistake ! ' This is a 
thing that can prove itself, if it is so ; and it vnll prove itself, 
because it is so. 

"Thus, we have the authority of both Old and New Testa- 
ments placed on just the same solid basis as the authority of the 
injunction to take food and rest; namely, that experience 
proves we cannot do without them. And we have neglect of the 
Bible punished just as putting one's hand in the fire is punished ; 
namely, by finding we are the worse for it. Only, to attend to 
this experience about the Bible, needs more steadiness than to 
attend to the momentary impressions of hunger, fatigue and 
pain ; therefore, it is called /at^A, and counted a virtue. But the 
appeal is to experience in this case just as much as in the other ; 
only to experience of a far deeper and greater kind." 

If even the epithets descriptive of the Trinity are appli- 
cable to factors in the religion of humanistic idealism, and 
not only are applicable, but become freshly beautiful and 
inspiring, it is likely that all the language of the Bible may 
be appropriated. But even if certain passages could not 


be used without an unnatural forcing of the text, that would 
not invalidate the worth of passages which required no 
forcing. Equally appropriate is much of the current lan- 
guage of religious worship, which is not directly taken over 
from the Bible. It may be the outcome of the metaphysi- 
cal thinking of the theologians of the Middle Ages. But 
the question is whether their metaphysics has necessarily 
distorted the factors and the relations of factors in univer- 
sal moral experience. If the metaphysical language of the 
creeds is f oimd to have some exact appropriateness in a natu- 
ralistic scheme of redemption, it too should be embodied 
in a nation's ritual. It should be reinterpreted; that is, 
our new insight should disclose a truer meaning and then the 
language should be preserved. My own study of the creeds 
leads me to see that the metaphysicians also were among the 
poets, and that while their doctrines are bad science, they 
are admirably constructed products of imaginative think- 

Many of the theological terms which were inflexible and 
absolute on the lips of the supematuralists will become rela- 
tive and assume the plasticity common to words in general 
literature. As Arnold says, the language of the New 
Testament is not that of science ; and the person who uses 
its phrases as if they were rigid terms in a technical nota- 
tion simply rules himself out of court as one incapable of 
judging. But although Matthew Arnold insists upon the 
ethical meaning of the fundamental message of the Bible, 
he does not for a moment deny that interblended with that 
message is a belief in miracles and in supernatural agencies. 
These, however, are altogether subordinate features. Like- 
wise, the Bible can never again lay claim to a monopoly 
of our religious reverence. Henceforth the revisers of 
religious services will find occasion to appropriate from the 
literature of all nations whatever commends itself as morally 
true and inspiring. 


7. The Words "Sin" and "Demi 


The word "sin," next to the word god itself, is ex- 
clusively a religious term. Transgression is never sin 
except it be against that which is counted a god — 
i.e., against a being to which steadfast and reverent 
devotion is turned as to the source of life's supreme 
blessings. It follows inevitably that worship of the Moral 
Ideal and all the Powers that make for its actualiza- 
tion would transform all violations of the moral law 
into sins. 

Of all theological terms, possibly none has fallen into 
more utter disrepute than the word " devil." Even persons 
who are still professed theologians avoid the word, and 
are generally ready to confess that they have ceased to 
believe in the thing. This is the more strange, for there 
has been no corresponding disbelief in the existence of 
evil, nor has the sense of horror of iniquity diminished. 
On the contrary, one of the striking characteristics of our 
age is the deepening of the sense not only of one's own 
sin, but of the reality of sin stamping itself on laws 
of property and on politics, and manifesting itself in 
domestic institutions. Indeed, the very institutions 
which once seemed to us almost perfect are now dis- 
covered in great part to be imjust and untrue. Many 
are beginning to feel that it is a dishonour to be rich, de- 
spite the legality of one's ownership of property. 

The devil may not exist as a personal agent beyond 
man ; but it is strange that at the very moment when we 
have discovered his non-existence, we have a new and 
appalling sense that all the attributes which constituted 
his supposed personality are more rampant in the world than 
we in our former ignorance had ever dreamt. We are also 
awakening to a new realization of the unity in all the 
various forms of evil. Things seemingly so diflferent as 


lying and murder and stealing and licentiousness and love 
of display, and their effects on mind and body — disease, 
poverty, pain, insanity, despair, and early death — all these 
things seem to be one in nature. They are evil because 
they are identical in their tendency — deathward. They 
make for the destruction of joyous life, not only in the 
individual, but in the race. Furthermore, we discover 
not only the identity in the essential trend, but the 
organic unity, the cohesive affinity, among all forms and 
elements of evil. If Plato was right in saying that all 
virtue is one, we are right in saying that all vice is one, 
not only in its abstract definition, but as a consolidated 
army. It is an organized enemy against health, gladness, 
long life, mutual confidence, and trust and hope among 
men. And all evils tend to cooperate. There is an 
evolution of evil as well as of good. Following Spencer^s 
definition of evolution, we may say that evil tends to 
develop from the incoherent, indefinite, and homogeneous 
to the coherent, definite, and heterogeneous. It is glar- 
ingly true that prostitution has become capitalized, 
systematized, co5rdinated, and elaborated. If virtue is 
health, evil is a disease like cancer ; it has a virility like 
that of quickening life and a power of growth as intense 
and rapid as it is monstrous. 

In proportion as one is conscious of this imif)dng, 
growing, begetting power among the various forms of 
evil, one is led naturally and irresistibly to do what is 
called personifying evil. But this personifying of evil is 
grossly misrepresented, if it is understood as literally 
attributing self-conscious intelligence to all evil, as if it 
actually possessed a memory and senses and purposes and 
plans over and above the memories and senses and pur- 
poses and plans of individual men and women. The 
personification is simply to indicate the organic unity 
which springs up among all evilly minded .persons, unify- 


ing all evil tendencies in institutions and traditions and 
drawing to itself all the evil propensities which exist even 
in comparatively good men and women. Although in the 
literal sense we cannot attribute a imified personality or 
ego to the evil in the world, we can still less declare that 
evil is impersonal. It consists of a plurality of persons — 
of living men and women who are bad and plot mischief, 
who feed cancerously upon the organism of society. We 
all see that the good people of the world tend to become 
a unified spiritual organism. But we are beginning to 
detect that the evil people of the world, and all people in 
so far as they are evU, in a similar manner, although \mder 
cover of darkness, tend to become a imified spiritual organ- 
ism. Evil not only exists — it is alive. It is not only alive, 
but transmits life ; and all the elements of its life tend to 
become organized. The intense, vivid sense of this organ- 
izing principle of unity among the elements of evil forces 
one to personify evil. If one does not do so, one falls 
short of a concrete, full and alert realization of its nature. 
One needs a name for all forms of evil as constituting a 
power which begets after its own kind in the world. Now 
the literary name for evil thus thought of is devil. 

We may not believe in a personal devil, but we must 
believe in a devil who acts very like a person. All 
spiritual organisms so act. A political party acts like a 
person ; the Roman Catholic Church, and every nation, in 
proportion as we have imagination, seem to us to act like 
persons and to have individuality, although we are perf ectiy 
aware that they do not possess a self-consciousness distinct 
from the consciousness of the individual human beings 
who constitute them. 

It is greatiy to be deplored that the belief in the devil 
and the use of the word devil have gone out of fashion. 
Only one other possible decline of faith and of use of a 
word could be worse. The decline of belief in God and the 


disuse of the word god would be a greater calamity; for 
God must stand for Goodness as a unifying and unified 
power in the world. But goodness imtil it has triumphed 
is in a terrible conflict with badness. It is not only that the 
idea of the good suggests the idea of the bad and that these 
are correlative terms. It is that the good and the bad 
both exist and both have vitalizing strength ; accordingly, 
it is a danger to the cause of the good if by dropping 
the word devil we imdervalue the quickening capacity of 
evil. Evil may spring up in a day, in a night, almost 
before one knows it, in dark places, in disguised forms, 
in beautiful shapes; and to make light of it, to think 
that the forces of evil are only a chaotic mob, is the 
devil's chance. The forces of evil, if scattered, have been 
scattered by the organized efforts of the good. The 
moment they have a chance and the moment the capitalists 
and statesmen of evil give the word, they will fall into line 
as an armed battalion. Witness the growth of private 
capitalism into antisocial and antihimtian trusts. 

Although the devil be not a person, we must not 
imagine that evil is a thing dead, inanimate, and material. 
Evil, as much as good, is of the nature of mind; it is 
spiritual. It is interpersonal and superpersonal. Then 
let this old theological term be reinstated in the literature 
of religion, and let us educate the people to know exactly 
what is meant by it, and why and how we use it. 

8. The Word ''HeU'' 

In "National Idealism and the Book of Common Prayer," 
I dwell at length upon the naturalistic and ethical use of 
the word "heaven," in treating of the phrase, "Our Father 
who art in heaven." I therefore here only mention the 
word that my reader shall not imagine that it may not 
have a place in the nomenclature of men who insist that 


religion must become scientific. But the word hell 
must not be allowed to pass imnoticed. As we find 
that the word heaven is the religious term for a perfect 
society, so the word hell is one which the religious 
consciousness has put forth to designate any society where 
evil is triumphant, and where the consequences of sin — 
disease, insanity, hate — are rampant. The word God 
points to an individual, to persons, and to interpersonal 
and superpersonal relationships and factors. Likewise 
the word devil. But the words heaven and hell designate 
the opposite moral extremes of types of society. Shelley 
illustrates this notion in his famous line, ''Hell is a dty 
much like London." Hell is thought of as a company of 
agents in whom moral insight has faded to darkness, and 
enthusiasm has burnt to ashes ; hardly a memory remains 
of the early dream of heaven as the fellowship of the good. 
In the New Testament and in the Prayer-book hell is a 
kind of society rather than a place and a time. We may 
accordingly cease to believe in a life after death and a 
place in which the vicious will then congregate and plot. 
Still we need a word to designate the fellowship of evil. 
There are plague-spots on earth and times in human 
history and even in the obscure proceedings of groups 
of nobodies, which are hell. By our using the word in 
this manner no one would be misled into thinking that 
we believe in a life of torment after death, and the 
vocabulary of humanistic religion would be the richer. 

When I was considering the word devil, I dwelt upon 
our growing sense of the reality and power of evil in modem 
life. It would be very strange if, during the break-up 
of the old interpretations of religion, and while the con- 
sciousness of sin and the chill of moral isolation are casting 
us down, we should have no more use for a word to desig- 
nate a society of the wayward and cynical. 

The word hell will again point to a physical torment of 


the damned, as well as a purely mental horror. As men 
advance in refinement of nervous organization and in the 
capacity and leisure for reflection and self-criticism, hell 
on earth will become more and more dreaded as the 
abomination of horrors. Preachers will, more and more, 
teach a doctrine of hell-fire. Out of kindness they 
will terrify by presenting the evil effects, indirect and 
remote, of selfish thoughts and dispositions. We must 
frighten people away from the edge of the abyss which 
yawns this side of death. It is the duty of the more 
experienced to warn the inexperienced and the unwary 
of the awful consequences of certain thoughts and deeds 
upon mind and body, not only to themselves, but to wife, 
child, neighboixr, and nation. Those are probably not 
far from the truth who maintain that no sane being would 
yield to moral sin if in the moment of temptation there 
stood out in his imagination all the terrible consequences 
to everybody concerned as do the momentary and 
immediate pleasures to himself accompanying the deed of 
transgression. Many a wrong deed bears no perceptibly 
bitter fruit for ten, twenty, or forty years in the life of the 
individual; then only does it blossom into dishonoixr, 
disease, and despair. A deed may never come back 
to its doer, but it will to his child, to the wife, the 
neighbour, the casual comrade, and to the nation. With 
the nation it may be only in a hundred years or five 
himdred that the germinating seed of misery will spring 
up to choke the goodness, happiness, and efficiency of a 
people. We must preach heU-fire, and by that name. 
It is an effeminacy akin to the indifference altogether of 
our day to questions of religious discipline which has 
made us dwell more upon the tender mercy of God, and 
less upon the inexorable rigour with which evil deeds 
beget sin, misery, and early death. We hear much of 
heaven and little of hell, because preachers have not yet 


gripped the effects of mischievous deeds in this world. 
The discardiiig of the old belief in a supernatural hell 
has led them to the foolish conclusion that all the conse- 
quences of sin are relatively slight. 

9. " Redemption,'' " Salvation," " Eternal^' " Infinite " 

The word ''redemption" likewise describes a certain 
experience and a certain purpose in humanistic religion. 
Man's very constitution, his organic structure as a whole, 
is moral; and wickedness is always the excess or de- 
ficiency of some special impulse of his nature. Every 
person who sins falls away from his normal state. That 
state, however, despite every deviation from it, is still 
prefigured in man's constitution. In wrong-doing, the 
delinquent feels that he is sacrificing his entire being in 
the long run to some special or transient interest. In 
such a case, the wrong-doer can be set right only at a 
cost, only by suffering. The metaphor, therefore, 
involved in the word "redemption" is a fitting figure to 
suggest this fact. A price must be paid for restoration 
to the rightful owner, and this price may be the happiness 
and self-realization of others. 

"Salvation" is a word commonly used in general litera- 
ture in a non-theological and non-religious sense. It 
means " rescue from any sort of danger, calamity, or destruc- 
tion." In a naturalistic religion it must be retained in the 
distinctive religious sense of deliverance from the power 
and penalty of sin. 

The word "eternal" has plainly two meanings, that of 
ordinary literature and that of current theology. In the 
latter it signifies literally unending existence, but in 
literature it means the kind of life lived by one who is 
more interested in the remotest and most public issues 
than in momentary and private concerns. It means moral 


superiority to transient troubles. In addition to this, it 
signifies in literature the relatively lasting, as when one 
speaks of the climate of the tropics as eternal summer, 
or when one speaks of an eternal roimd of duties. The 
word, in this sense, is justifiable. It is pedantry that 
would restrict it to the rigid sense given it by the old- 
fashioned theologians. In the literary sense the word 
eternal must be preserved as a distinctively religious term. 
For whether human interests be literally everlasting, 
continuing on after death, or not, there is a striking differ- 
ence between living for pomp and vanities and living in 
the real service of all men for all time. The ethical life 
is therefore an eternal life, in that the individual himself, 
although he has but an hour of continued existence be- 
fore him, is interested in concerns that will abide practically 
forever. He is not only interested, but is himself contri- 
buting to this unending life. His character and his con- 
duct are means to enduring ends. 

There is still another justification of the use of the 
word eternal in naturalistic religion. The qualities which 
distinguish the higher life, as reinterpreted, are the same 
which were characteristic of the eternal life as described 
by the older theologians. The finer spirits of Christianity 
have always noted that the word eternal points not so 
much to continued existence after death as to a quality 
of heart and soul attainable here and now as well as here- 
after. As Schleiermacher said, we may be eternal in each 
moment of time — superior to personal disappointments. 

Likewise with the word '* infinite." It will be a great 
gain to religion and to life when the grotesque subtleties 
which certain schools of metaphysicians have woven about 
this word have been stripped away. Infinite is a term 
for the emotions ; it should treat of values instead of limits 
in space and time. When one's sentiments rise above a 
certain intensity, differences of degree cannot be discerned 



or felt; one experiences a distinct and peculiar emotional 
sensation of limitlessness and vastness. Wherever this 
emotion is experienced, it is justifiable to speak of "the 
infinite," describing as such that which causes the emotion. 
Now, it happens that the great principles and ends of the 
moral life and the presence of persons devoted to these 
ends awaken in us a degree of awe and admiration so 
intense and profound that exact distinctions of measured 
difference become impossible. That which produces this 
emotion seems to be without limit and without bounds. 
With this interpretation, the word infinite ceases to of- 
fend our scientifically disciplined judgment. 

The word "almighty," as an epithet of God, like the 
words eternal and infinite, should be rescued from the 
falsely rigid and pedantic use of the supematuralists. For 
the emotions, that power which exceeds measure is prac- 
tically almighty; in this literary usage the word means 
mightier than one can measure. Such an epithet fits 
most congruously the notion of the active good in the world. 
The more we study the good as a power, the more we are 
conscious of its immeasurable might. But, what is still 
more significant, when we look to the future we see that 
that might will be augmented by leaps and boimds and 
more quickly than it has ever been in the past. In propor- 
tion as the physical universe comes imder the control of 
nations, the power of the good in the world will be increased. 



I. The Efficacy of Petition 

The notion prevails that praises, expressions of grati- 
tude, and petitions addressed to some Higher Power must be 
dropped out of religious practices when once the trust in 
superhuman agencies is abandoned. Who remains, it is 
asked, to be thanked for blessings received? What is 
left to praise ? Could there be any sense in appealing to a 
Being not conscious and therefore incapable of knowing 
what we asked ? 

Less extreme are other conclusions as to the practical 
consequences of limiting oiir moral trust to human beings 
imder natural law. It is declared that prayer, when we 
give up the supernatural, can have efficacy only by reflex 
action. Mere aspiration, it is said, is a prayer; and it 
does us good to aspire. The practice of asking, praising, 
and expressing gratitude, although no one hears us, is 
wholesome for us. Sweeping is good for the broom, even 
if the floor be made no cleaner. It is said that, after all, 
the essence of prayer was not the asking for anything of 
any one, but the inward meditation, the serene contempla- 
tion ; and that such reflection is involved in all commimion 
with a superhmnan deity and yet is independent of it. 
Thus prayer, even the form of address, may be preserved 
on account of the mental exercise it entails. 

These conclusions seem to me to have been reached be- 
fore making any analysis of the mental processes involved 

in prayer and without any comparison of attitudes of mind 



towards natxiral factors of experience analogous to attitudes 
towards supernatural agents. They seem to have been 
reached without a preliminary study of the general custom 
of petitioning, praising, and expressing gratitude to one's 
fellow-men and to natural beings, as practised by all great 
imaginative writers both of poetry and prose — with no 
shadow of reference to belief in supematuralism. 

If we approach the question of the use of prayer in natu- 
ralistic religion from the point of view of literature and 
psychology, we find that prayer — not simply mental but 
spoken, not simply private but social and public — will 
be more than justified. Such prayer is efi&cacious not only 
on accoimt of its reflex action within the suppliant, but also 
because it is positively answered by outside beings and 
powers. This efl&cacy of prayer will also be found to con- 
cern not simply inward and spiritual states, but material 
possessions and outward circumstances — health, wealth, 
and success in life. Nor will it consist simply in passive 
contemplation of great realities and ends, nor in any 
imaginary communion with these. On the contrary, prayer 
will retain as its essence petition to an outside Being, and 
the nature of the answer to prayer will be the actual re- 
sponse of a Higher Power. These responses will be such 
that they are veritably dependent upon the petition. Had 
the suppliant not asked, he would not have got what he 
asked for. 

2. Human Beings who answer Prayers to God 

Now to our analysis, psychological and literary. When 
we give up supernatural personal agencies who might an- 
swer petitions, we have not altogether lost out of our lives 
personal agencies who may hear and answer supplications. 
Human beings, close at hand and powerful to help, still 
in coimtless numbers round about us. Only on 



the notion that supematnralism is essential to religion 
can it be maintained that a supplication to a personal agent- 
for help is religious so long as the agent is supernatural 
and superhuman but ceases to be religious the moment the 
agent appealed to is human and natural. The fundamental 
contention of natiiralistic religion is that if a practice is 
religious when done in relation to beings outside of man and 
nature, it must be equally so in relation to beings within 
the imiverse of our sodai experience. 

Apply this principle to the Lord's Prayer. If the pe- 
tition " Give us our daily bread " is religious when addressed 
to a personal Creator conceived of as hearing and caring 
and able to provide for us, it is none the less so if addressed 
to fellow-mortals round about us. Likewise with the sup- 
plications "Lead us not into temptation" and ** Deliver 
us from evil." Suppose any one should utter these petitions 
to men and women round about him, believing that they 
could give him the bread and the moral protection he needs, 
and would do it if petitioned. Suppose he were filled with 
a profoimd sense of his dependence upon them and upon 
their willingness. Suppose he were in dire necessity — 
not only he, but his family. Then all the elements of re- 
ligious intensity and yearning and himaility and hope would 
be manifested in him. Also there would be the powers at 
hand, mighty to save, ready to help, needing only to be 
asked in sincerity and with good cause. How, then, at 
least as regards these three clauses of the Lord's Prayer, 
can it be said that the moment our belief in a supernatural 
personal agency vanishes, that instant we must perforce 
cease to cry out, " Give us this day our daily bread," **Lead 
us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"? 

Or take the clause, "Forgive us our sins, for we also 
forgive those who are indebted to us." If this supplication 
be an act of religion in the soul and on the lips when ad- 
dressed to an invisible agency, our contention is that it is 


equally so — equally a prayer, equally a petition to an 
outside Personal Power, to a source of redemption and 
consolation — when addressed to one's fellow-men. They 
can forgive. Morally, they must forgive. The impera- 
tive is absolute ; and there can be no hint of superstition 
or presumption in asking fellow-mortals to forgive us in 
proportion as we have forgiven other fellow-mortals. No 
scepticism, no materialism, no agnosticism can in any 
degree imdermine the foimdations of this prayer when 
addressed to fellow-mortals. The occasion for both think- 
ing and uttering it remains as great after we have discarded 
supematuralism as it was before. Nay, the consciousness 
of the need for forgiveness from one's fellow-men becomes 
intensified. It becomes exalted into a higher degree of re- 
ligious fervour and passion than it ever could have been when 
the chief anxiety of religion was to appease a supernatural 
agent. No stronger vindication of a naturalistic faith and 
practice could be conceived than this heightening of the 
significance of the forgiveness of sins between man and man. 
We have, then, already justified prayer as a form of pe- 
tition to an outside Being imder a naturalistic scheme of 
human redemption. Nobody ever dreamed of denying 
that it is perfectly rational to pray in the manner here 
indicated. Furthermore, it is quite plain that the efl&cacy 
of prayer when directed to personal agencies within nature 
is not merely subjective; it is objective and real. The 
answer is dependent upon the asking. Let it further be 
noted that prayer of this kind is not limited to asking for 
spiritual blessings. It secures material help as well as 
outside spiritual safeguards and spiritual reconciliations. 

3. Outward Expressions of Prayer 

Further, how self-evident it has become that prayer 
within the limits here imder consideration need not be 


merely mental ; nay, must be spoken as well. Not only 
speech, but the very bodily attitudes of prayer should re- 
main intact. It is fully justifiable to bow the head, to 
stretch forth the hands, and on occasion to fall upon the 
knees. Such practices are not only justifiable, but are 
actually carried out by everybody. Who can deny that 
the use of these towards supernatural agents is simply 
borrowed from the imiversal and everyday practice of 
falling on the knees, stretching forth the hands, and bowing 
the head towards fellow-mortals, when, in great need and 
dependence, men and women cry out for help, either phys- 
ical or spiritual ? After analysis of the case, then, instead 
of conceding that religious petitions to an outside Being for 
help must cease when supematuralism is discarded, one 
raUier is astonished at the presumption and audacity, or 
else the lack of reflection, of those who declare that men 
must cease to pray in a religious sense when the super- 
natural is given up. 

For, whatever else must be abandoned, certainly petition 
to outside beings in whose visible presence one stands or 
kneels, and within range of whose hearing one's words are 
uttered, will forever be its own justification. The only 
change with the decay of supematuralistic creeds will be 
that such petition, which before had been counted secular 
or profane or what not, will rise now into the dignity of 
religious ceremonial. This asking from a fellow-mortal 
within earshot for help is the eternal and indestructible 
nucleus of the substance of prayer. 

4. Prayer to the Absent 

But we have not surveyed the whole range of the prac- 
tice which naturalism in religion must inculcate. We are 
by no means limited, in our requests, to persons within ear- 
shot. There are countless channels for commimicating peti- 


tions to those absent or remote. A prayer may be written, 
it may be printed. Yet not even these direct means of 
conveying a supplication to the Being implored exhaust the 
possibilities of reaching the ear and the soul of others. 
Sometimes it is not necessary that one should direct one's 
petition to some particular and definite individual. Every- 
body knows that a petition sent forth vaguely and generally 
often touches the heart of this or that hearer, quite irrespec- 
tive of any personal friendship or any individual responsibil- 
ity towards the needy suppliant. We ask we know not whom 
in particular, but we get in response from some one in par- 
ticular. Men and women out of work insert in the daily 
papers a statement of their predicament ; and their prayer 
is answered. Somebody hearing of a case of distress an- 
noimces the circumstances in the Press and vouches for 
the accuracy of his statement; and the money that is 
wanted comes. The home in the coimtry which the in- 
valid needed is oflFered. The journey to a warmer clime is 
provided. Verily, many have foimd that a Personal God 
is roimd about them, ready to hear and help. Experiences 
so common as these are known to every one. The only 
novelty in my argument is that I bring them into relation 
with the deepest necessities of our lives and open up close 
at hand an infinite scope for religious trust, faith, and ful- 

5. Prayers that are Overheard 

Sometimes the prayer is directed in no such vague and 
general manner, but is misdirected. It is addressed to a 
definite individual, yet one whose heart is hardened or 
whose eyes are blind or who proves after all incapable of 
answering our request. And still the prayer is answered. 
Some chance onlooker overhears and forthwith assumes 
the r61e of Providence. It must never be forgotten that 
prayers may be not only heard, but overheard. When not 


even overheard in the literal sense by one who can answer, 
they may be reported to somebody else who can. 

Nothing could be more naive in its simplicity than the 
testimony frequently rendered by evangelical enthusiasts, 
who boast that in their philanthropic work they have never 
asked any himian being for a penny, and yet the infinite 
Creator of the universe from on high has heard their prayer 
to him. Money has poured in from this and that rich man 
or woman. Such enthusiasts are, without doubt, sincere. 
But they and the persons who believe their testimony over- 
look the fact that there are many forms of prayer besides 
direct begging. People see for themselves a man's sincerity, 
smgle-mindedness, and self-sacrifice, and the need in which 
hoih he and his work stand. One who has fainted by the 
wayside need not tell me that he has fainted and requires 
my help. If I am but half hmnan, I know before he asks, 
and may answer because he does not ask. So with the self- 
sacrificing worker among the poor. We see the needs of his 
mission, and our hearts are forthwith touched to proflFer 
our support. The evangelist who testifies that without 
natural means the Creator has directly moved the rich to 
support his mission must prove that some one who has 
never heard of it or of its merits has sent money. The 
truth is that dogmas exacting faith in supernatural agencies 
make those who implicitly accept them blind to what com- 
mon sense reveals as plainly as the day — the hmnan 
agencies and the natural connections binding one human 
spirit with another. 

6. Prayers to Historic Personages 

Petition, however, to one's fellow-mortals is not limited 

to those actually living. All human agencies who have 

once constituted a part of the living social organism and 

whose character and purposes have been preserved to us 



in books or by tradition are potent factors to-day in the 
lives of human beings. Literature, in proportion as it is 
imaginative, poetic, and patriotic in its sentiments, teems 
with illustrations of direct addresses to human beings long 
since dead. These addresses consist not only of praise 
and expressions of gratitude, but of appeals and petitions. 
If our reasoning thus far has been correct, such petitions 
do not cease to be prayers simply because they are not 
addressed to superhuman agents. Upon close analysis 
we shall, I believe, be forced to confess that they are an- 
swered, and not simply subjectively. Take Wordsworth's 
sonnet, beginning : — 

Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour : 
England hath need of thee : she is a fen 
Of stagnant waters : altar, sword, and pen. 
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower. 
Have forfeited their ancient English dower 
Of inward happiness. 

The Milton living in history and not simply the Milton 
already subjectively a part of Wordsworth does, through 
the suppUcation, become a more intense, vivid, and potent 
reality to the petitioner because of his prayer. Milton is 
one of "the choir invisible,'' living "in minds made better 
by their presence," but in other minds as well as that of 
the petitioner. But more than this, Milton is living in his 
poems and his prose and in the historical record of his times. 
No one focussing attention upon Milton, and reconsidering 
his works and his life, can fail to derive from them new 
strength and inspiration. It is impossible to say that one 
studying the works of Shakespeare is benefited only sub- 
jectively. It is impossible to say that any one indebted to 
Shakespeare's liberating and himianizing spirit can turn 
the attention fresh upon him and not derive from him new, 
real, and objective inspiration. So with Milton. In open- 


ing our minds to him, he becomes more vividly present to us ; 
and thus he makes us better and quickens us to new hero- 
ism and new dignity. It is only by prayer to him that more 
of him enters into us than mere chance allowed. Surely it 
is a petty and mechanical logic which would lead us to 
believe that the 240 years between us and Milton are in 
any way a barrier to his response to our spiritual appeal to 
him ! Time is no barrier. Pathetic is the foolishness of 
those who, in order to interpret the inspiration which we 
may derive, feel forced to presuppose that the spirit of 
Milton is actually present in the sense in which living men 
are at hand. It is to be hoped that most of us are poets 
enough, without any spiritistic theory to encourage us and 
without any materialistic doctrine to prevent, to cry out 
to Milton, imder pressure of our inward shame and con- 
scious of his character : — 

We are selfish men ; 
Oh I raise us up, return to us again. 
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power I 
Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart ; 
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea : 
Piu'e as the naked heavens, majestic, free ; 
So didst thou travel on life's common way 
In cheerful godliness ; and yet thy heart 
The lowliest duties on herself did lay. 

When the services of the Anglican Church become — 
and they will so become — the native poetic outgrowth of 
national history and of national character and of national 
genius, as well as the outgrowth of the religious services 
of ancient Jerusalem and of the Roman Catholic Church, 
this supplication to Milton will find its place in England's 
public worship. The disciplinary efficacy of the repetition 
of it would in no wise require, as a presupposition, a beUef 
in any doctrine or dogma as to supernatural powers 
in general or as to the self-conscious living presence 


of Milton to-day. To the truly historic imagiQation the 
past is verily present, not only as the unconscious energizing 
principle of our lives, but also in the literature and record 
of its meaning and its lessons. 

In a naturalistic view of religion all such appeals as this 
of Wordsworth to Milton would be recognized as essentially 
and intensely religious; and such recognition would en- 
hance their beauty, dignity, and influence. 

7. Prayers to Jesus 

Not only, however, will treasures of so-called secular 
literature be seen to be sacred and be appropriated by the 
Church. The best. prayers of the Church itself, which 
hitherto have been interpreted in a supematuralistic sense, 
will not on that account be discarded by humanists. 

Generally in our day nobody prays to Jesus Christ, im- 
less he accepts the idea that Jesus Christ has continued 
since his death to be a living, self-conscious spirit and is 
still operating upon himian society and cooperating with 
his disciples to the end of its redemption. But the time 
will come when persons who in no wise entertain this idea 
will not be in the least ashamed to turn, as much as any 
spiritistic Christian, to Jesus Christ for help and inspira- 
tion, for strength and consolation, just as they will repeat 
Wordsworth's prayer to Milton. To-day it may seem almost 
preposterous to think that such a time will come. But 
how can the discarding of supematuralism separate us from 
Jesus the Man, from Jesus the Christ, from him who exem- 
plified in his sa)H[ngs and in his life the principle of our 
himianity to a degree far transcending that of any other 
character preserved to us in literature and tradition ? We 
need Jesus as we need Milton; and the only way to get 
him is to turn towards him as we would to Milton — to 
study his life, picture it, visualize it, know by heart his 


sayings and his influence, and thus focus our attention 
upon his unique personality. To do so mentally will be to 
cry out mentally, "Christ, have mercy upon us; Lord, 
have mercy upon us !" and what we shall say in our in- 
most soul that we may utter with the lips. Thousands 
who to-day discard the supernatural office assigned to 
Jesus are ready to testify to the inspiration of his life. It 
is inconceivable that a religion which will turn to the ex- 
amples of all good men should omit that of Jesus. Nor 
will any deficiency of historical evidence as to tie actuality 
of the details of his life have a weakening effect upon the 
power of his personality, any more than the same deficiency 
woidd have in the case of any other man. In the case of 
all men the valuable element in their lives depends not 
so much upon the authenticity of every incident as upon 
the ideal character which the incidents somehow inevitably 
suggest or inevitably create through our constructive 
imagination in our own minds. The true triumph of 
Christ will be the survival of his power for good over men 
after they have totally discarded all belief that he was 
imique in origin or in kind or even that he actually did or 
said any one of the things which have been assigned to 
him. Somebody, something, many persons or many 
things, did, somehow, suggest to the writers of the New 
Testament that ideal of manhood which therein is shadowed 
forth. Whatever suggested the ideal there depicted is, in 
the ultimate analysis, the living reality from which the ideal 
issued. Though the whole narrative of the Gospels be 
proved to be mythical, the reality it presents cannot, from 
the ethical and sociological point of view, be denied. The 
myth somehow grew out of living needs and living experi- 
ences. Destructive critics will have difficulty in destroy- 
ing the ideal suggested by the story of the life of Christ. 
Nor can they destroy the belief that it emanated from living 
experience of some kind. It, moreover, is in no wise de- 


pendent upon the authenticity of the narrative. It is its 
own witness and its own justification. It will, accordingly, 
grow more and more to be a positive redemptive energy 
throughout mankind, in proportion as all spiritism falls 
away from religion. Naturalistic religion will not only 
rescue the characters of secular literature, but will deliver 
Jesus out of the hands of those who in their jealous adora- 
tion of him have made him a preternatural — and there- 
fore a monstrous — being. 

8. Prayers to Spiritual Tendencies and Ideas 

Even now we have not exhausted the range through 
which the spirit of prayer may sweep without passing 
beyond its legitimate confines. Equally justifiable with 
petition to living human beings and to the great characters 
of the past is direct address in the second person to the 
great tendencies and institutions of human society. The 
very tissues of the living organism of humanity are sensi- 
tive and vibrate in response to our supplications. The 
ideal relations and standards of human fellowship glow 
with new life and move responsive to the petitioner's im- 
portunity. Such abstractions as America, Democracy, 
the Spirit of Man, Womanhood, the Moral Ideal; such 
virtues as Purity, Equality, Fraternity — these are no mere 
abstractions. Although abstractions, they are energies, 
potencies round about us. To turn the mind towards 
them, to fix the eye of the spirit upon them, is to cause 
them to pass from vagueness and indefinite passivity into 
distinct and precise activity. We cannot mention their 
names without beginning to grow into their likeness. As 
ideas, as principles formative and directive in human so- 
ciety, they have a real existence independent of any one 
individual who may or may not revere them. Take Emer- 
son's immortal prayer : "I love the Right ; Truth is beauti- 



ful within and without forevermore ; "Wrtue, I am thine ; 
save me; use me; thee will I serve, day and night, in great, in 
small, that I maybe not virtuous, but Virtue." Let any man 
pray this prayer, and he will see that from Virtue as a real 
power, from the idea and from the living principle of it in 
human experience, strength will issue to transform him 
into its image and into identity with it. The result of ex- 
periment with this prayer will be the conviction that even 
petitions to personal agents, supernatural or natural, are 
efficacious only in so far as they involve, though but im- 
plicitly, an appeal to the abstract qualities of ideal manhood. 
The suppliant will find that William Blake expresses the 
inmost truth of prayer when he says : 

To Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love 

All pray in their distress, 
And to these virtues of delight 

Return their thankfulness. 

9. Prayer not merely Communion 

If such be the intimate and vital relationship between 
us and the whole of human society past and present, it 
cannot be said that there only remains to us a sort of ideal- 
istic communion with the great and good, and with those 
groups which have been the inspiration of the great and 
good. Besides such union and conmnmion, direct petition 
is also possible. This being the case, those religious inno- 
vators who have discarded supematuralism, and have on 
that account felt themselves compelled to discard petition, 
have erred in judgment. 

Typical among such innovators was Dr. Congreve. He 
retained the word "prayer." But unhappily he went out 
of his way to assert that from Positivistic prayer all idea 
of direct petition is excluded. Why shoidd he have ex- 
cluded petition? Siirely only because he had failed to 


analyze carefully the factors which remained within Posi- 
tivism. The supreme being to which the Positivists pray, 
Himianity, is verily present wherever any human beings 
are present, and hears whenever they hear. To each incU- 
vidual in the congregation all 'the others are an outside 
living reality which may and does respond to petitions. 
But over and above this, did Dr. Congreve even under- 
stand the prayers he himself formulated? Was he not 
still so dominated by the supernaturalistic presuppositions 
to which in youth he had been trained, that by oversight 
he failed to recognize the most virile and effectual charac- 
teristics of Positivistic prayer ? Dr. Congreve's error seems 
also to have fastened itself upon the understanding of an- 
other devout and unflagging disciple of Comte. Mr. 
Malcolm Quin, who has conducted the services in the Church 
of Humanity at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, divides the 
forms used by him under three headings only, Commemora- 
tion, Communion, and Dedication. He allows no place 
for direct petition. This would exclude the asking that 
justice be done, that health, wealth, leisure, and knowledge 
be granted to all those from whom these necessities are now 
wrongfully withheld. No wonder that the poor and women 
in general have not been attracted in large numbers to the 
Church of Humanity ! It has fallen into commemoration. 
It has dropped into quietistic piety and receptivity. It 
has inculcated dedication of one's powers instead of self- 
assertion and the demand that forthwith those who can 
deliver shall arise and redeem. 

Yet, fortunately, both Dr. Congreve and Mr. Malcolm 
Quin have builded better than they thought and professed. 
In spite of their conscious theory, they have not omitted 
petition from Positivist prayers. I find in their printed 
religious services, it is true, no asking for material help. 
But their prayers are far more than mere aspiration of the 
individual soul, unrelated to the reservoir of spiritual Ufe 


round about. There is in the Positivistic prayers very 
much of direct petition for spiritual help from an outside 
Being; or, to be more precise, from that portion of the 
whole being of Humanity which is outside of the petitioner 
himself. What, for instance, are these invocations of Hu- 
manity in Mr. Quin's ritual but a direct petition, and what 
could be more consonant with the real character of Posi- 
tive polity than such appeals as these : "Humanity, Spirit 
of Love, arise in the souls of thy servants" ; "Yea, free us 
from this darkness, that we may behold thee in the glory 
of thy past"; "O power of present guidance, unveil thy 
grace to us and be near to us in these depths"; "O life 
that wast, O life that reignest now, reveal to us all the 
majesty of thy life to be." Surely here is a petition on the 
part of the individual worshipper to some power outside 
of his own actualized selfhood. Or take Dr. Congreve's 
form for the Sacrament of Presentation of Children. There 
you will find this petition, clearly directed to all hmnanity 
as well as to the intelligent heart and will of the parents 
who dedicate their child: "Great power whom we adore 
as the source of all good to men. Humanity, we thy servants, 
met for the consecration of a new life to thy service, 
humbly and earnestly pray that the child by tiiis sacra- 
ment presented and consecrated may be lovingly, faith- 
fully, and wisely trained, that imder all wholesome in- 
fluences of affection and submission and reverence she (or 
he) may grow up to be in her turn rich in such influences, 
taking her part in thy continuous work." 

Thus even those who intend to omit petition spon- 
taneously and wisely retain it. The ultimate substance 
of prayer is the act of opening the soid towards the moral 
imiverse beyond oneself. It is a drawing back of the cur- 
tain to let in the sunlight. Or — to change the metaphor 
— the hmnan spirit, too long shut within the prison house 
of the senses and boimd to the claims of the pettier self, 

234 '^^^^ SOUL OF AMERICA 

is cramped and stifled. It was born for liberty and loving 
sacrifice ; and when it fears that it can no longer breathe, 
it strikes against its prison windows, and, breaking them, 
lets the life-giving air from beyond rush in. 

ID. Prayer not merely Mental 

From what we have said above, the minor question as 
to whether prayer shall be purely mental or may also be 
expressed in words is easily settled. Prayer is, of course, 
in the first place, mental. But it is a grievous blunder to 
imagine that it has no need to be formulated in words and 
uttered in speech. No mental activity can become definite, 
coherent, and systematic and remain so, except it be em- 
bodied and repeated in words. Afterwards we may come 
to say the words in a suppressed whisper or only mentally ; 
but originally and essentially a prayer to be definite must 
be formulated in language. And it must be actually spoken 
again and again, or it will waste away into vacancy of soul. 
A petition that does not or cannot or will not formulate 
itself in words and let the lips move to shape them and the 
voice to sound them and the eye to visualize them on the 
written or printed page, becomes soon a mere torpor of the 
mind or a meaningless movement of blind unrest or a trick 
of pretending to pray. Perfected prayer is always spoken. 

II. Public Prayer 

Moreover, in its fulness a prayer uttered by the private 
soul alone cannot be adequate to its own fulfilment. One 
may not say that the prayer in solitude is ineffectual ; for 
indirectly, if not directly, through its effects upon him 
who prays, it will reach not only the humanity stored up 
to us in literature and tradition, but the actual living men 
and women constituting the present-day community. 


Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that prayer in its fuhiess 
is not only spoken, but is social. It requires for its com- 
pleteness the presence of two or three uniting together in 
petition. Ultimately, prayer is the surrender of the in- 
dividual's private whims to the general will of society; 
and that general will is most powerfully present and effec- 
tive when at least a few are visibly together in commimity 
of purpose. Again, the very fact that the prayer is entered 
into by several persons proves that it is already a movement 
not only of the individual towards the spiritual organism, 
but of the spiritual organism towards each of its members. 
It is an insane heresy of religious individualism to regard 
private prayer as being deeper and intenser than public. 
According to this heresy, the height of prayer is for the 
individual to be alone with the Alone — as jealous theists 
describe it. The truth, however, of our spiritual life is 
that in order to ascend spiritually we must meet and help 
one another up. Social prayer is the coming together in 
order to enter into the unifying spirit of all society. Articu- 
late utterance is manifestly the only means for rational 
communion, and the words uttered, in order to express the 
turning of the mind to the redemptive influences within 
the spiritual organism of sodety, must consist not only of 
statements in the third person concerning those influences, 
but of address. It is not enough that we speak about the 
Being whose help we crave ; we must speak to it. It is 
quite true that, when we cease to trust to personal agencies 
outside of society, we can no longer address them either in 
thought or words; but this is no reason why we should 
cease speaking to the personal agencies within society. We 
may henceforward only talk about supernatural beings; 
but surely we are not restricted to talking about our fellow- 
mortals. We must address them directly. 

We dare never forget that moral realities stand to us in 
a different dynamic relation from the grass and the stars 


and the sea. No effects upon us or upon these would re- 
sult from petitions, even of a most righteous man, to them. 
But no one can deny that prayers to Purity, Serenity, 
Faith, Humanity, America, Man, Woman, to Milton, to 
Jesus, do create a new moral heaven and earth for him 
who thirsts after righteousness. 

12. The Emotional ElevcUion of Prayer 

It may well be conceded that only when a man's emotions 
are profoimdly stirred and his imagination quickened can 
he feel the si^iificance and dignity of addressing a petition 
to such abstract qualities and comprehensive realities as I 
have been considering. The moral will, although it does 
go out in supplication to these so-called abstractions and 
generalizations, never does so when a man is neutral and 
apathetic. But when in such a state of mind, why should 
any man trouble to address either natural or supernatural 
powers ? The prayers I have been advocating presuppose 
exalted states of mind in which principles, ideas, and the 
main tendencies and goals of human effort are felt to be 
supreme realities and constitute a living presence. The 
mood of all prayer, supematuralistic no less than naturalis- 
tic, if it be genuine, is akin to the spirit of poetry, wherein 
the invisible, the universal, the ideal is felt to be more real 
than one's own body. It is nothing against the interpre- 
tation of prayer which I have given, that it presupposes 
imagination and a state of profound emotion. The prayer 
that is prosaic and drags along the ground of literal fact is 
a contradiction in terms. Let persons who are not deeply 
moved, and whose spirit is not aflame, speak only in the 
third person or not at all. The exaltation of prayer which 
has always characterized it in supernatural religion will 
be equally required when the redemptive influences to 
which we turn are wholly within social experience. The 


emotion must be high; then the speech will correspond. 
A spoken prayer must give expression to the exalted emotion 
that inspired it by majesty of style, by sweep of rhythm 
and greatness of imagery, or else by the closeness and 
simplicity of its truth. 

Some of the Positivist innovators in religion to whom I 
have before referred attempted to write prayers in an im- 
imagfaiative mood of cold, logical effort. They supposed 
that a mere recognition of their right to address Humanity 
would enable them to produce a prayer. They did not 
realize that only at the white heat of passion and by creative 
imagination would come forth a form of petition able to stir 
moral passion in others. The result of their efforts was 
sometimes grotesque enough. Yet in humanistic religion a 
foolish and incapable utterance no more proves the inability 
of humanism to inspire sublime and stirring expression 
than would a similarly dull utterance in supematuralistic 
religion be a disproof of its possibilities. An analysis of 
certain prayers which have been offered to the public and 
are used by English Positi vists simply shows that the 
special writers were not poets; it does not show that 
Positivism is in itself prosaic, but that Dr. Congreve was 
not a poet. Let the Positivists wait, if need be, for a 
Shelley or a Browning or a George Eliot before they begin 
to offer up prayers to Humanity. 

But they need not wait. Already EngKsh literature is 
abundantly rich in Positi vistic prayers, as sublime and 
quickening in melody and passion as anything in the 
Hebrew prophets or the liturgy of the Church. Let any- 
one read Swinburne's *' Songs before Sunrise." There he 
will find a whole anthology of prayer suitable for use in the 
Church of Humanity. Swinburne does not invoke in very 
name Humanity as a spiritual organism, but he does what 
would seem less promising. He breathes forth prayers to 
the Ideal Republic. When " Songs before Simrise " was writ- 


ten, he was aflame with democratic enthusiasm, and his soul 
burnt itself in sacrifice at the altar of republicanism. Yet 
not a line nor a word of his could any one find grotesque. 
Our conclusion, then, as regards the prayers of naturalism, 
is that they are in no other position than those of super- 
naturalism. They presuppose a poet. 

13. SkUemerUs of Fact in Prayer 

We have noted that a petition addressed to a Being need 
not differ in content from a simple statement of fact. 
Take the General Confession in Morning and Evening 
Prayer of the English Book of Common Prayer. It is a 
petition to God ; it says, "We have erred and strayed from 
Thy ways like lost sheep. '* If we drop the pronoun 
"Thy" and in its place put words descriptive of what the 
"Thy" undoubtedly indicates, we shall have destroyed 
the form of prayer, but the matter of the sentence will 
remain wholly intact: "We have erred and strayed from 
the right ways like lost sheep." How little difference, 
whether we speak to Righteousness or speak about it ! 
We see that the difference between the third and the 
second person is not a difference in truth or in kind, but 
only in warmth. The form of prayer marks an intensifi- 
cation of intimacy, but nothing more. We cannot even 
say that statements about a thing fail to draw it nearer 
to us. When we declare that we have erred and strayed 
from the right ways like lost sheep, the right ways become 
less far off ; and they loom higher and grander before our 
inward vision. They awaken an impulse to start forward 
and enter into them. Only to speak about Virtue is in 
fact a supplication. It is an asking without the form of 
asking; and beyond all doubt such formless prayers are 

When speaking of the form of prayer, we found that 



it might be addressed to a person or persons within ear- 
shot or to those living but absent. Or we might ask of 
the commimity as a whole, or of persons and tendencies 
remote in history, or of ideals and abstractions. Now 
exactly in the same way, although in a lesser degree, to 
make a statement in the presence and hearing of a person, 
although with no form of petition, may virtually be a 
petition. If I come pale and haggard into the presence 
of some one capable of assisting me and simply declare, 
''I have had nothing to eat for twenty-four hours and 
am penniless," the effect is probably quite the same as 
if I added, "Give me something to eat," or, "Give me 
something with which to buy food." The efficacy of the 
statement is of the same kind when the words touch the 
heart of an absent person whom they indirectly reach. 
Likewise even the influence of the dead and of abstrac- 
tions may be secured to our benefit. Almost all the effect 
of Wordsworth's sonnet addressed to Milton would have 
been obtained had it been a statement about Milton in- 
stead of an appeal to him. 

Persons, then, who boast that they have discarded prayer 
and who regard it as childish or fantastic to address peti- 
tions to beings who cannot literally hear, do not escape 
the charge that their minds virtually go out to meet die 
great realities of the moral universe, whenever they make 
sincere and truthful statements about virtues or great 
historic tendencies. They may say that they have 
abandoned the form of prayer, but they cannot maintain 
that they have dropped its substance. Modem indifference 
and the lack of analysis have led to a widespread discard- 
ing of the form of prayer, but we have no reason to think 
that persons have in any degree ceased talking about virtue 
or ceased going out to meet it halfway. Nor, in fact, have 
they, in abandoning prayer to supernatural agencies, 
fallen off from the poetic habit of using the form of prayer 


to the dominant factors in moral experience, lliey have 
not yet become accustomed to denominate such addresses 
prayers; but when once the identity, in disposition and 
efficacy, of petitions to human agents with prayers to super- 
human beings is seen, the form of petition will not only be 
used, but will be designated by the religious name for it. 

Thus we see that the form of prayer is legitimate when- 
ever the sense of intimacy with the object from which bless- 
ing is derived rises beyond the everyday level of emotion. 
We might say that a statement abatU virtue represents the 
positive degree of moral emotion, while an address to 
virtue represents the comparative degree. The latter indi- 
cates more perturbation of the heart ; there is a bursting 
of the ordinary bounds and channels of feeling ; the emo- 
tions overflow and rush forth in imwonted abundance and 
with increased momentum towards the object they seek. 

14. A Mystic Union with God 

There is, however, a superlative degree of moral senti- 
ment. The sense of intimacy with virtue may rise to 
a level where it transcends even the form of prayer. The 
plane of feeling where excitement, unrest, and yearning 
dominate is not the highest. Such a state is often trans- 
cended. The soul enters into a realm of spiritual clarity, 
of calm and radiant fulfilment, where it no longer is aware 
of any separation between itself and the whole of virtue 
which it craved. In this state of emotion it becomes as 
impossible to speak to the influences and agendes which 
redeem as of them. The intimacy of the Good in the 
individual with the Good beyond it has become for the 
instant identity of being. In such moments of luddity 
one neither speaks of virtue and the good in the world nor 
to virtue and the good in the world, but lets virtue and the 
good in the world speak for themselves in and through one's 


own soul. Thus it was with the ancient Hebrew prophets. 
They identified God with themselves and spoke in his person. 
Such, likewise, was the sense of mystic union with God ex- 
pressed time and again by the Founder of Christianity. 
He saw himself to be one with the Powers that redeem. 
The highest state of religious emotion is this, which can 
only express itself adequately in the first person. And 
the line of religious development in the future imder nat- 
uralism will not be marked by a falling short in that 
emotion which needs the form of prayer, but by a tran- 
scending of it. 

Not only in Hebrew and Christian literature do we 
find this higher form in which petition is transcended, 
but also in the sacred writings of the East. It is like- 
wise to be found in such mystic poets of the West as Emer- 
son and Tennyson. Emerson, without explaining who it 
is that speaks, uses the first person, where it is quite evident 
that his own finite personality is not the speaker. In the 
following verse he uses it as an Eastern seer would : — 

They reckon ill who leave me out ; 

When me they fly, I am the wings ; 
I am the doubter and the doubt. 

And I the hymn the Brahmin sings. 

In "The Higher Pantheism," Tenn)rson, although he 
does not use the first person, expresses exquisitely that 
consciousness of identity with all reality and with the ideal 
of all good of which we have been spedking : — 

Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet. 

And the ear of man cannot hear, and the eye of man cannot see ; 
But if we could see and hear, this Vision — were it not He ? 

If in the future the form of prayer is to be less used 
than it has been in the past, it will not be because we 
shall fall back in coldness and apathy to the third person, 


but because we shall more frequently rise, like the great 
mystics in their rarer moments, to identity with the real 
and with the good. In its fulness conmiimion with the 
redemptive powers is such that he who prays is one with 
that to whidi he prays. 

15. The Value of Ethical DeclaraHons 

It is, however, an error to imagine that address to God 
and address by him are the only religious forms of speech. 
In our recognition of the ecstasies which break out into 
petition and praise and into utterances as from God him- 
self to man, we must not forget that plain, quiet state- 
ments of moral experience and of moral judgment serve 
the same high ends. Mere assertions of our wants, ac- 
knowledgments of our limitations, confessions of our 
debts and hopes ought to make up the main body of reli- 
gious utterance. Simple, unimaginative expressions of 
principles and needs strengthen those principles and meet 
those needs in ourselves and others. The more sober 
thinkers of our day have therefore sometimes discarded 
the form of prayer, only because they were more sensitive 
and discriminating ; they were anxious to avoid the slightest 
exaggeration. They have disciplined themselves to modest 
declaration of moral experience. They have preferred to 
understate in order to escape the vice, to which professional 
religionists are prone, of overstating the intensity of spiritual 
desire and hope. They see that religion in the past has 
often fallen into contempt because of indulgence in the 
comparative and superlative degrees in speech, when only 
the positive degree of emotion was felt. It is consonant 
with the character of true religious feeling to check hysteri- 
cal talk by restraint of the tongue. 

Commendable is the self-control which can feel and will 
greatly and yet keep temperate in phrase. In nearly all 


the prayers of the Book of Common Prayer there is an 
ahnost imperceptible merging of plain statement, of peti- 
tion, and of oracular utterance into one another. In the 
greatest prayers are most frequently to be foimd plain 
statements of facts of the moral life. For instance, in 
the prayer from which we have already quoted the sen- 
tence, "We have erred and strayed from Thy ways like 
lost sheep," there immediately comes the deckuration, "We 
have followed too much the devices and desires of our own 
hearts." After the clause, "We have offended against 
Thy holy laws," is the plain statement, "We have left 
imdone those things which we ought to have done, and we 
have done those things which we ought not to have done ; 
and there is no health in us." Here there is no form of 
address or petition, but the spirit of prayer is incarnate. 

Such merely positive declarations may at any moment 
mount emotionally and assume the overt form of petition ; 
then, subsiding to a lower level of feeling, they resume 
the third person. The form is as nothing if the substance 
be present. To state, "We ask to be forgiven," is not 
a prayer in form ; yet its import is the same as if we had 
said, "Forgive us !" 

In the meetings of some ethical societies are read declara- 
tions of principles which make no pretence to imagina- 
tiveness. They do not rise above the positive degree of 
emotion, but — not presuming to — are in taste. They 
are honest, homely confessions of moral purposes, aspira- 
tions, and duties. Yet no one could hear them read and 
not be aware that they in their degree appeal to the human- 
ity of every listener and set him turning towards all good. 
They stir in him both a sense of responsibility and a con- 
sciousness of his own need. Such a plain, matter-of-fact 
statement is this : — 

We are here to-day to deepen our sense of personal respon- 
sibility towards those who may need our ministering care. We 



dedicate our lives to all with whom we are joined by the ties of 
duty and by opportunities of service; to our neighbours, to 
kindred, to the children who are dear to us, to fellow-dtizens, 
to our countrymen and to any one we may help — even to those 
as yet unborn. 

It is a terrible thought that beings, frail, without experience 
and yet precious, are thrust into a world oftentimes thoughtless, 
selfish, and cruel. We would offer our lives as a shield to guard 
the wayward from their own folly and to protect the innocent 
and ignorant from pernicious customs and the designs of evil 
persons. We would summon all men and women now living to 
the high office of benignant Providence, to which their position 
as fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, as elder brothers 
and sbters, as neighbours and citizens, and as fellow-mortals calls 
them. We commend to the fortunate, to the powerful, to those 
of preeminent ability or in positions of influence, to the governors 
of our cities and of the nation, all children whose parents are 
worldly or destitute, illiterate, intemperate, or overworked. 
To those who might bring relief we cry out: **Have mercy 
upon these helpless victims, and deliver them out of their un- 
toward conditions; create for them a new environment, both 
physical and social; preserve their bodies from hunger, pain, 
and disease; and to their minds bring the truths that reveal 
the glories of the universe, bestow upon them the beauty that 
graces life and pour out the love that hallows it." 

Above all, we plead that henceforth no human life shall come 
into existence unless it has been desired, and will be welcomed, 
cherished, and revered. 

Here is a petition to one's fellow-mortals without the 
form of appeal. It does not pretend to emanate from a 
mood of unwonted intensity, and so need not attempt to 
rise above the level of workaday phrase. 

As an instance of the natural transition from statements 
in the third person to direct petitions and then back again, 
I may dte another confession of moral need, used in the 
services of some ethical churches : — 

To all who might influence us either for good or for evil, we 



who are here assembled, being each of us conscious of our own 
moral weakness, send forth the time-honoured petition, " Liead 
us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." We cry out 
to those about us, appealing to the best that is in them : '' Help 
us to do through hours of blindness what in moments of insight 
we see to be right. Bring home to our unwilling thoughts the 
fact that the triumph of righteousness on earth depends in part 
on our own effort and our own wisdom. Infuse into us this day 
the strength to resist evil and to do good ; make us just and kind 
in all our dealings. Deepen in us the desire to love, know, and 
do the right. Save us from hasty opinions, words, and deeds. 
Teach us to consider what we are prone to forget — the cause 
of the poor, the unfortunate, the stranger, of the aged, of chil- 
dren, and of dumb animals. Help us to root out from ourselves 
race hatred, class prejudice, and religious intolerance, as well as 
all other forms of cruelty and malice. Encourage us to make 
the common weal our end. Liead us to cherish truth and beauty 
and all institutions which make life noble. Lastly and once 
more, we ask : Increase our power to live every day of our lives 
in the spirit of this appeal." 

A statement which never once rises out of the third 
person and above the positive degree sometimes reaches 
the heart for which it is meant as potently as would a 
direct petition. I cite two more ethical declarations which 
I have found to be not without the efficacy of prayer : — 

The miseries and wrongs which degrade our nation require 
no miracle to end them ; but only a good heart and willing wit 
on the part of the intelligent, the prosperous, the electors, the 
legislators, and the magistrates of our land ; and, on the part 
of the disinherited classes, a burning sense of the wrongs they 
suffer. We address ourselves not to beings who are blind, deaf, 
remote, or incapable of rendering aid, nor to an invisible de- 
liverer beyond the skies. We importune men — fellow-men, 
close at hand — of like nature and in like need with ourselves ; 
for we know that importunity like ours overcomes both the 
heedlessness of the proud and the apathy of the oppressed. 

We call upon men and women of all classes, but we especially 


summon the poor and overworked, to form themselves into a 
mighty religious movement, for the teaching and doing of the 
duties of man to man by man. If we who are pledged to social 
regeneration become an organized multitude, the wrongs of life 
will be quickly righted, for we ourselves shall have the power to 
establish justice in the land. 

We utter this summons in the glad consciousness that in 
doing so we are performing a part, necessary though humble, 
in the great work of human redemption. 

likewise this: — 

In the name of duty and humanity; for the sake of the tens 
of thousands of the suffering poor, for the unemployed, the over- 
worked, the underfed ; on behalf of those who have no room to 
live, and who must die without the sanctities of home ; for aU 
who dwell in uncertainty from week to week as to their means 
of subsistence ; for the wives of the needy — especially in time 
of childbirth ; for the children of the poor and of worldly and 
dissolute parents ; in pity for all women whom neglect and want 
drive into vice; and for the many men and women whom 
poverty and evil associations tempt into l3^g, drunkenness, 
theft, and murder ; we call upon all to set aside their vanities, 
to rise above greed of class and prejudice of birth, and, in the 
spirit of wisdom and love, with energy and singleness of mind, 
to look these terrible evils in the face, to trace their causes, and 
to apply their cure. 

The result of our anal)rsis is that the discarding of 
supematuraUsm does not involve the discarding of the 
form of prayer and does not deprive us of its immeasurable 
benefits — inward, social, and even material. Accord- 
ingly, as regards Christian prayer, the question for religious 
reformers is not so much one of revising as of reinterpreting. 
Hereafter when we pray, if we use the old words, we must 
recall definitely to mind what factors in moral experience 
are involved. When we remember our own denotation 
of the terms used, the form in which the thought is cast 
assumes a fresh and deeper meaning. 



I. New Grounds for Millennial Hope 

Christianity, as soon as it has become transfused with 
the spirit and transformed by the method of modem science, 
will bring about the Millennium. 

This statement is suggested by a sentence of Ferdinand 
Lassalle to the effect that the millennium will be bom from 
the union of science and social democracy. Lassalle no 
doubt had in mind the same confluence of historic tendencies 
as I have ; but to me the earthly state of bliss which modem 
socialists dream of is the same as that which entranced the 
early Christians. The difference is not in the vision, but 
in the means for its actualization. If the two dreams are 
identical, the refusal both of social democracy and of Chris- 
tianity to recognize that identity must have been an injury 
to each and to the whole world. In my judgment the so- 
cialism of Lassalle and Marx has on this accoimt lacked 
inwardness, spirituality, and idealism, and has erred in link- 
ing itself to a materialistic interpretation of history ; while 
Christianity is still groping ineffectually above the clouds, 
instead of reconstructing the economic and political life 
of nations. But if once Christianity be wedded to science, 
the dynamic of the spirit will forthwith devise, build, and 
set in operation the mechanism of the cooperative conmion- 

I here define Christianity by what Christians of all de- 
nominations would assent to as its essence — the historic 
movement emanating from the personality of Jesus Christ 



and making for the establishment of a rdga of personal 
and social justice and purity throughout the earth. This 
is Christianity. Its theory and dogma are but devices of 
the intellect to interpret and justify it to the understanding 
of man, but its reality is a living tendency in society ema- 
nating from the historic Jesus Christ and growing organically 
in the world. It is to be interpreted by the end it has in 
view, and no one can deny that its end is the triumph of 
social justice on earth. 

My dictum, then, means that when once this spiritual 
organism of Christ's Church discards supematuralistic 
interests and adopts the method, spirit, and results of 
science as dictating the means and the policy towards the 
advancement of social justice on earth, its Kingdom of 
God will come and come quickly. If the natural and 
human means be discovered which would establish so- 
cial justice and personal purity on earth, and if they be 
applied, it is inconceivable that social justice and personal 
purity would not come. It is a tautological proposition 
to which we have reduced the statement ; but, being tauto- 
logical, it is self-evident. The only question remaining 
is whether it be possible to discover tiie himian and natural 
means towards the establishment of the Eangdom of 
Heaven. To many a mind the decision of this question 
settles forever for the human heart the alternative be- 
tween despair and life abundant. If we cannot discover 
and apply the natural and himian means to the end of 
Christ's Elingdom, that Eangdom is worse than a phantom, 
and it were better for us Christians had we never been 

2. The History of the Millennial Hope 

The old-fashioned expectation of a Millennium, being 
based on a belief in supernatural intervention, was on 
that accoimt the most unfounded of human delusions; 

JMMJMJM^MTrilii- - • m 


but, notwithstanding, it was the sanest, sweetest, truest, 
humanest bent which the moral idealism of man has ever 
taken. In any case, it began in the third century after 
Christ to be replaced by a hope of such an existence in a 
life after death and on another scene than the surface of 
this planet. But never was there such a fall of man from 
hope and insight. When the expectation of a second com- 
ing of a supernatural f oimder of the kingdom of righteous- 
ness was abandoned and the human heart turned for con- 
solation to the thought of another world, it was the setting 
in of an agelong night. Since then only for the briefest periods 
and among small groups has the millennial passion burst 
forth into flame, but each time it has been quickly stamped 
out by the powers that be, as if it were the very fire of hell. 

Savonarola was a prophet not of a life after death in 
another world, but of the life on earth in his own time and 
in Florence itself. But he paid speedily the price for having 
returned to the millennial hope of Christ and his immediate 

Martin Luther after his revolt from Rome was for a 
time guided by the vision of an earthly Kingdom of God. 
And he continued to follow this gleam until the peasants, 
taking fire of hope from him, meant in deadly earnest to 
end the economic iniquities of the laws of property which 
had reduced them to abject poverty. Then Luther him- 
self denied Christ and sided with Uie princes against the 
peasants. It required, however, the pouring out of the 
blood of two himdred thousand peasant martyrs to quench 
the spark in them which he himself had kindled. Before 
Martin Luther, the millennial hope had lighted up all 
England for a time. Wiclif and the Lollards were its 
prophets, but the powers-that-be smothered out the flame. 
The result was that England during the fifteenth century 
was intellectually, morally, and as regards joy of the spirit, 
but a nation of ashes. 


Again, the hope of a redeemed earth gained strength 
enough to flame forth in the moving times of Charles I. 
The Fifth-Monarchy men imder the Protectorate were 
millennial, but on that accoimt were suppressed as mad. 
Sir Isaac Newton believed in the Millenniiun. In the 
next century Charles Wesley was millennial — that is, 
despite all his supematuralism, his hope was for this world, 
for the poor, for England in his own day. 

It was the heat of the millennial passion which in 1789 
melted to ruin the ancient rigime of France. Its fire- 
flakes were being wafted from across the Channel to Eng- 
Ush soil, when Burke extinguished them with the floods 
of his eloquence. It was fanned into flame again, however, 
in 1849 among the Chartists ; and only the Iron Duke could 
stamp it out by military threat. Yet once more in the 
eighties in England the millennial hope reappeared — now 
not so much in the form of heat as of a light diffused 
throughout all classes of the commimity. Not only were 
the poor dockers of London on tiptoe of expectancy of a 
human time coming for them, not only did the lowest 
classes of labourers and even of women wage-earners begin 
to organize their claims for justice, but the towns of Eng- 
land at last received a form of self-government which 
brought civic idealism from the clouds of dreamland to the 
solid ground of practical politics. Quickly, however, the 
forces of reaction set in, so that the last decade of the nine- 
teenth century showed the priests of supematuralism, the 
princes of imscrupulous capitalism, and the soldiers of 
imperial greed more powerfully organized and shameless 
in England than they had been for seventy years. 

America was conceived of millennial faith, and by that 
same faith she freed the black slaves. 

Except for these brief moments, the trend of organized 
Christianity until the last ten years has been away from 
a mundane heaven. The authority of teachers and preach- 

iBMMiMaiaHHiiai^ittHMfeuuu^ ■ 


ers of religion has been used to direct the attention of the 
masses to a life after death, to find there the consolations 
for the wrongs suffered here. Even Victor Hugo com- 
mended the thought of heaven after death as the only pos- 
sible palliative to the poor. Within church organizations 
and from pulpits it was taught to be a heinous heresy to 
doubt the existence of a life after death. Nor was any other 
evidence of total depravity required than a lack of interest 
in that other world. And even to-day scarcely one Chris- 
tian in a thousand is aware that all this interest is not 
only imchristian, but antichristian, if we take the person- 
ality and thought of Christ as the standard. The New 
Testament, despite all the supematuralism of its writers, 
is from beginning to end millennial; that is, its heaven 
is one the scene of which is to be earth, the centre of 
which is the very dty from which Christianity emanated, 
and the time of the beginning of which was their own 

The great joy which Christ communicated to the poor 
who listened to him and whom he touched was the millennial 
thrill. It was the expectation of the quick coming of 
justice, love, and the outward health and security which 
these engender, that excited the first Christians to an 
ecstasy of self-sacrifice. The Book of Revelation, which 
is typical and is an authentic document of the sentiments 
within thirty or forty years after Christ's death of those 
who had known him personally, is a revelation not at all 
of another world or of the individual soul after death in 
its relation to its maker, but of nations here on earth and 
of a state which was to supersede the organized power of 
Rome. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. . . . 
And I saw the holy city. . . . And the gates of it shall 
not be shut at all by day : for there shall be no night there. 
And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations 
into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing 


that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination 
or maketh a Ue." 

To be Tnillennial is to be Christian ; whether the forces 
by which the Millennium is to be ushered in are believed 
to be human and natural or spiritistic is wholly beside the 
point. Whether God is to be regarded as a personal 
agent outside of the spiritual organism of human society, 
or as the upward gaze, the passionate self-sacrifice in the 
hearts of men for the establishment of the kingdom, is 
not of the essence of the message of Christ; all of his 
language can be interpreted himianistically, and has thus 
more meaning than if taken literally in Uie sense of the 
supematuralists. The mark of the Christian was his ab- 
solute faith in and his restless desire to hasten the coming 
of the Kingdom, the vision of which had smitten his soul. 

We thus see that throughout the Christian era all the 
periods of millennial enthusiasm have been brief; but 
they have been the only periods of creative energy, of 
prophetic originality and of magnificent and ecstatic 

If we direct our gaze back to Judaism, we discover the 
same mental phenomenon. The great prophets were 
millennial in their hope. Indeed, the ordinary Christian, 
with his spiritual boast of his other-worldliness as the 
very essence of true religion, looks down upon the Jews 
not only of ancient times, but even of to-day, because the 
Jews have preserved as the essence of Judaism the millen- 
nial expectation. No oppression, no insult, no contempt, 
no ostracism could extinguish the divine spark at the heart 
of the Jew. The only question to-day is whether liberty, 
social recognition, flattery, titles, riches untold may not 
kill out what persecution secretly sustained. If so, with 
the ending of the millennial hope Judaism will cease to be 
a factor or even a fact in the world. But if the Jew has 
self-respect enough to withstand the seductions of pros- 


perity, his ancient hope will burst forth anew and organize 
itself into one mighty flame and again be a light to the 
whole world, while incidentally disclosing a way to the 
reestablishment of the Jews in Palestine. 

3. The False Basis of the Old Hope 

Yet, as I have said, the old-fashioned expectation of a 
Millennium, being based on a belief in supernatural inter- 
vention, was not well foimded. Even if it had never been 
extinguished by hostile powers and interests, it would 
nevertheless have failed utterly. The old millennial hope 
bore in itself the germ of its own defeat. Had it been 
encouraged and favoured, it would have transformed the 
very kingdom it established into anarchy, riot, violence, 
and bloodshed. No supernatural redeemer ever did appear 
on the clouds in glory ; nor could he have come ; nor would 
it have been well had he come. There must not be a 
personal agent outside the spiritual organism of society 
to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth. If such a 
deliverer came, it would be our duty to reject him. The 
very essence of our manhood is at stake. Man must 
have no kingdom which he himself has not wrought out 
through experience, by thought, by sovereignty over him- 
self and mastery over nature. 

The forces to which believers in the Millenniimi have 
trusted in the past for the establishment of a kingdom 
of righteousness were purely imaginary. Their existence 
was not verifiable in experience ; their control and manipu- 
lation were not within human power. On this account, 
the hope of realizing the vision was an instance of collective 
insanity. It had no more substance than a sleeper's 


4. A Heaven Material as well as Spiritual 

The new hope of the Millennium is like the old in that 
it is an expectation of a reign of justice and love throughout 
the nations of the earth. Both the new and the old differ 
from the pseudo-Christian hope of a heaven in another 
world after death, in that they include our material, 
physical well-being, health, wealth, leisure, and all the mani- 
fold richness and beauty of the life of the senses, as well as 
the perfections of the inward and spiritual nature. It is 
true that in the New Testament there was an intense and 
profound inwardness, but always with the full confidence 
that if the behests of the Spirit were fulfilled, all other 
blessings should be added. It is true that St. Paul be- 
lieved, at least at times, in a material resurrection of the 
bodies of the dead. But this was only to be a momentary 
catastrophe; and after it the living would go on living; 
and, so far as one can gather, the whole implication is that 
human beings would go on propagating after their own 
kind in the natural way. Furthermore, St. Paul's belief 
in the immortality of the individual soul never for a mo- 
ment diverted him away from the earth and the nations 
of the earth and their future as the goal of all his effort. 
The millennial hope anticipates, then, a material heaven 
as well as a heaven reigning within the spirit; and this 
hope of a material heaven on earth was a part of the ori- 
ginal Christianity, as it is of Christianity whenever it 
reappears as it was in Christ. 

5. The Sanity and Purity of the New Hope 

But while the new millennial hope is infinitely nearer 
to the old than either is to the counterfeit Christianity 
which has usurped Christ's organization, the new hope is as 
sane as the old was insane. Since the advent of science 

^Miiii^MM *■' I m Vi 


and the awakening of democracy through the blending of 
Science and Christianity, a man who does not accept the 
Millenniimi proves himself at least bad, if not mad. Only 
prejudice of pride, of greed, of ascendency over others, 
of class interests, of self-deification, of contempt for the 
poor and for women can blind a man to the well-nigh 
infinite resources which the Church of Christ would gain 
were she to accept the discoveries and inventions of Science 
and use them and trust to them instead of trusting to 
miracles, to prayers to invisible spirits, and to the guidance 
of supernatural agents. 

The great material wealth of the modem world has 
hitherto been associated with pride, greed, selfish ambition, 
excess, and self-indulgence. But this is wholly because 
the wealth has accumulated in the hands of a few and 
at the expense of the many. The wealth, were it co- 
operatively acquired and justly distributed, would in itself 
be perfectly right and good and its enjoyment innocent 
and himiane. But, more than this, wealth so produced 
and distributed would itself favour spirituality, inwardness 
of life, the love of righteousness, and the readiness to die 
for it. For then the material wealth and all its blessings 
would themselves, being just and fair and a result of 
justice and fairness, illustrate the priority and necessity 
of the inner spiritual life. It is only wealth unshared 
that is unholy. But even then it requires little discrimi- 
nation to see that the selfishness and not the wealth is 
really the polluted and the polluting thing. We must 
remember that even the Kingdom of Heaven can only be 
unlocked by a key of gold. But when the whole com- 
mimity, when the Church herself, holds the key and is 
ready to open the Kingdom even to the least of these, 
gold itself will become the symbol of righteousness. 

There is no more anti-sodal teaching than that which 
glorifies poverty and the renimdation of the physical 



means of health, strength, comfort, and leisure. It is 
a self-deception of the rich which makes them imagine 
that the poor are as happy as those who have security of 
necessities and a fair share of comforts and opportunities, 
of education, travel, art, and every other blessing which 
wealth can give to those who know how to use it aright. 
Let the poor resent with their whole souls' indignation 
the teaching of resignation to a poverty which compels 
them to give nine-tenths of all their attention to the means 
of a livelihood, while allowing them no leisure to live. 
When the Church discards her supematuralism and adopts 
natural means for the redemption of the world from sin 
and misery, she will adopt an ideal not of poverty, but of 

There is a powerful argument for a naturalistic mil- 
lennial hope in the fact that a seemingly slight change 
in outward conditions or in the social atmosphere of a 
community may produce well-nigh infinite differences in 
inward happiness and moral character. In this respect 
hmnan nature is analogous to vegetable life. Think what 
a very slight increase of temperature in April over the 
average warmth of March is necessary in order to pro- 
duce all the difference in the plant world between an 
appearance of death and a manifestation of life. Let there 
be an average increase of warmth of from ten to fifteen 
degrees, and every seed and branch will burst forth into 
the splendour of bloom. Precisely parallel is it with 
mankind. Hitherto for the great masses of the people it 
has always been winter. Whoever has lived among the 
working-classes knows that so slight a change for the 
better as an increase of a few dollars a week in wages 
throughout all trades makes all the difference to the 
home life, to the children, in education, in self-respect, 
in respectability, that April showers and April sunshine 
make to plant life as compared with March winds and 



the shorter daylight of wmter. A decrease of working 
hours from fourteen to ten is a change like that from 
February to June. Suppose the Church transferred all 
her interest in a life after death to the life before death, 
from a society of imembodied spirits to the society of 
us spirits who are dependent for self-realization upon the 
health and strength of our bodies. Suppose the first 
object in the Church's policy of human redemption were 
to shorten the hours of work of all wage-earners to the 
possible minimimi, and to raise all wages to the possible 
maximum. Would it not be "kingdom come" not only 
in freedom from disease, but in innocence of life, in sym- 
pathy, love, and the pursuit of truth and beauty for their 
own sake ? 

There is no shadow of groimd for doubting that natural 
means can be discovered for curing the chief maladies of 
life, in the same way — to take a special instance — that 
scientific men have discovered the causes and devised 
a prevention of the blight of the grape-vines of France. 
Possibly the very method and the causes of the social evils 
will be foimd to be analogous. Parasites pierced the roots 
of the French vines; roots with a slightly thicker bark 
were introduced ; the result was that the parasites could 
no longer feed upon the vines; and the parasites died. 
Which things are an allegory. 

6. Children bom Unbiassed 

Another argument for a new millennial enthusiasm 
lies in a fact which for a supematuralistic scheme had 
no significance. The fact to which I refer is that the 
individual men and women of the world at any given 
time are absolutely removed from it after a period seldom 
longer than fourscore years, and that the places of the 
old are taken by new individuals, who come into the 



world completely ignorant of its traditions, its intrigues^ 
its wrongs and sufferings, and practically innocent. The 
new-bom babe may, it is true, come with predispositions 
which may tempt it to active injustice and unsocial self- 
indulgence. But, as we have just been pointing out, the 
very same nature which certain circumstances would incite 
to injustice and self-indulgence will, if another set of 
circumstances act as stimuli, be quickened along lines of 
humane consideration for others and heroic seU-controL 
One cannot, therefore, argue from any degree of obliquity 
and weakness which himian nature has exhibited imder 
past circumstances of life, that human nature would 
exhibit the same characteristics if differently played upon 
from the moment of birth. Those who are discouraged 
from millennial hope on the basis that human nature is 
corrupt are, therefore, foolish and thoughtless. The 
question is whether the corruption of human nature must 
under any circumstances whatever manifest itself. Would 
the men who now for the most part yield to excess in 
drinking intoxicants show this same weakness if for a 
whole generation the hours of all work were shortened, 
wages increased, every human being compelled to earn 
his own living by his labour, and no financial profit allowed 
to any individual or company, or even to the State itself, 
from the manufacture and sale of intoxicating drinks? 
Is drunkenness a sign of the depravity of human nature 
or a proof of defect in the social and economic environment ? 
Or take another type of moral irregularities. Suppose 
men had not ascendency over women by being the ex- 
clusive breadwinners, but that women had equal opn 
portunities and were equally incited with men to earn 
a living and to pursue a career, and that both men and 
women were made by their teachers fully aware of the 
social and physiological significance of sex life. Would 
the horrors that now exist continue ? Imagine, then, that 

■Hm ^' - 


all the children in the nation, from the moment they were 
bom, came under the influence of an environment radically 
changed — as it would be possible even now to change it 
within a decade, if only the ChrisUan Church were con- 
verted to a belief in purely human and natural means of 
redemption. Then it would seize upon all the means at 
hand, instead of continuing its colossally time-absorbing 
and emotion-draining system of intercession with super- 
hiunan agencies. 

I have said that children are bom without traditional 
prejudices; but what does this mean for a humanistic 
scheme of redemption? It means that children learn 
from others class distinctions, pride of birth, contempt 
for women and for persons of other colour and of other 
nationalities. No child has any such prejudices tmtil 
these are inculcated by others. Every child is absolutely 
and thoroughly democratic. No boy naturally and until 
told counts himself superior to womankind. Free a 
child from the corrupting contact with these ideas, illustrate 
in his presence principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity, 
and there would be nothing in his nature or experience that 
would ever throw itself against such principles. 

7. Science, Wealthy and Religian 

A scientific religion would be something new. There 
never has been a religion hitherto which was naturalistic. 
Yet it would be only relatively, not absolutely, new. It 
would not be without historic roots. It would be new 
only as Christianity itself was new, which had been growing 
in the heart of Judaism for four centuries. It would be 
new only in the sense in which the religion of the Refor- 
mation was new. It would be a child of history and the 
legitimate heir of all the ages. Its novelty would consist 
in its arising out of the confluence of streams of tendency 


which hitherto had been flowing in separate channels. 
Its novelty would further consist in its arismg out of the 
awakening self-consciousness of a class which hitherto 
had not had the education or the intelligence or even the 
leisure to think for itself and to act as a class. Sdence, 
so long as its discoveries and inventions were monopolized 
in the interests of the leisured and rich, did not become a 
religion ; for those classes had already transformed historic 
institutions into an instrument of their own supremacy 
and had interpreted Christian principles in a light favourable 
to their own interests. It is this illicit union of inventive 
science with class interest that has begotten the monster of 
modem competitive industry. Once remove Science from 
private capitalism and join it to Christ and the historic 
tendency which emanated from him, and there will be 
a religion new in resources, social philosophy, and cosmic 
theory, but not new in the direction of hope or in ethical 

If I mistake not the lesson of our times, it would be as 
foolish now not to expect the quick coming of the kingdom 
of righteousness as in Christ's day it was idle to look for 
it. The application of science in every direction shortens 
not only space, but time. By scientific inventions, things 
can often be done in a day which used to take a year, 
and in a year which would have taken ages. Thousands 
of things which never could have been done at all because 
they could not be done rapidly are now attainable, and are 
attained. The shortening of time is one of the most im- 
portant of all conditions in bringing achievements within 
human reach. Nor is it possible to find any ground for 
the belief that scientific methods applied to moral and 
spiritual culture would not be proportionately more rapid 
than the pre-sdentific methods of the old religious discipline. 

^^iMilMMi iiiin I !►• T 


8. How Long? 

I am well aware that many scout the idea of the speedy 
settmg aside of institutions which have lasted for thousands 
of years and the quick liberating and educating of classes 
of society which have remained in ignorant serfdom from 
the beginning. That most brilliant defender of govern- 
ment by the privileged few, Mr. Walter Bagehot, somewhere 
ridicules the notion prevalent among reformers that "in 
a little while — perhaps ten years or so — all human beings 
might without extraordinary appliances be brought to the 
same level.'* And he adds that of late our perceptions have 
been sharpened as to the gradual and slow nature of progress. 
We realize, he says, the tedium of history, and the i>ain- 
fulness of results. Only a few, he points out, have advanced 
and participated in modem civilization. 

We have [he says] in a great commimity like England crowds 
of people scarcely more dvilized than the majority of two thou- 
sand years ago. . . . Those who doubt should go into their 
own kitchens. Let an accomplished man try what seems to 
him most obvious ... in intellectual matters upon the house- 
maid and the footman, and he will find ... his audience think 
him mad. ... Great commimities are like great mountains 
— they have in them the primary, secondary, and tertiary 
strata of progress ; the characteristics of the lower regions re- 
semble the life of old times rather than the present life of the 
higher regions. And a philosophy which does not . . . con- 
tinually emphasize the palpable differences . . . will be a 
theory essentially misleading, because it will lead men to expect 
what does not exist, and not to anticipate what they will find. 

Here is the opinion of that upper world in which Mr. 
Bagehot evidently lived and moved and had his being — 
so far as it has any opinion at all. It is the judgment of 
the elevated classes of society when they attempt to gaze 
down from the giddy heights of the drawing-room to the 


servants' hall in the basement. It is also the philosophy 
of many upper-class economists, calculators, and sophists. 

Now the differences between the habits and conditions 
of the dwellers in our lower regions and those in the higher 
strata of society are not exaggerated by Mr. Bagehot. 
The only point of dispute relates to the time which it might 
take to raise the masses into that mental and social self- 
fulfilment characteristic of the upper classes. I maintain 
that imder favouring circimistances, with such appliances 
only as are already within the reach of practical economics 
and politics, ten years would be time enough to abolish 
laws and customs which have lasted two thousand years, 
and to establish on a firm foimdation other systems of pro- 
duction and distribution of wealth and education and op- 
portimity which would remain secure as long as they did 
not deserve to be superseded by systems socially more 
eflSicient. History has shown repeatedly and in many 
countries the power of man by conscious foresight and 
energy to do in ten years what imconscious, unplanned 
natural evolution would require two thousand years to 
achieve. As regards the appliances at hand which could 
work such changes, they are extraordinary, not in the sense 
that they are not thoroughly understood and accessible, 
but in the sense that hitherto they have been monopolized 
by the few in their own interests. Multitudes of blessings 
which now are exclusively within reach only of thousands 
could, almost with no perceptible increase of cost, be dis- 
pensed to millions. We live in an age of duplicators, mimeo- 
graphs, linotype machines, and rotary presses. These are 
analogous to many devices for the dissemination, with 
enormous decrease of cost, of countless opportunities. 

Mr. Bagehot forgets that the millions of individuals who 
to-day live imder an oppressive system two thousand years 
old, came themselves, as I emphasized above, fresh into 
the world only twenty or fifty years ago ; and so recently 



as at their birth they were altogether human in shape, 
hmnan in promise, and human in their ability to respond 
sensitively to whatever environment might close in upon 
them. When once it had closed in they were soon fixed 
— doomed. So it is that an accomplished man need only 
descend to his kitchen and try intellectual matters upon the 
housemaid and the footman to find that great communities 
heap great moimtains on hmnan beings the instant they 
are bom. Furthermore, even the moimtainous weight 
superimposed upon them does not quite crush out the life. 
It has been intelligent and rational self-abnegation which 
has made the poor submissive ; they have seen as plainly 
as day that it was altogether an impossibility for them as 
individuals to rise. But we are now witnessing the growth 
of a realizing sense among the poor that what they cannot 
accomplish as individuals they may by combination. The 
working classes in more coimtries than one know that if 
they combine they can in a decade pulverize structures as 
old as the Pyramids, and bigger. 

The truth is, Mr. Bagehot's view as to the stability of 
upper-class distinctions and as to the long, long time it 
will take to render human the lower strata of society is 
altogether superficial, pedantic, and mechanical. Human 
beings, at the bottom even of Mr. Bagehot's England, are 
not as yet by any means exhausted centres of spiritual and 
social power. They still think, aspire, renoimce, suffer, 
and wait. In the highest things it is quite possible that 
the housemaid and the footman are nearer the insight of the 
Founder of the Kingdom of Heaven than is the accom- 
plished man who thinks it will take them countless ages to 
reach to the moral and intellectual standard of the higher 
regions of present-day society. Upper-class men lack 
sympathetic imagination, or they would see that their theo- 
ries are unscientific as well as inhuman. They now fail to 
detect so patent a fact as that which Lowell depicted. 


Thrones and altars are built on the bodies and souls of 
living men. We hear bitter cries under the very founda- 
tion-stones; we mark great fissures that rend the walls 
and open wider as the living foundations heave and sigh. 
Surely in ten years it will be possible for Christianity plus 
Science to lift the maid and the footman a little higiher 
than the drawing-room of to-day ? Whatever height one 
man has reached to-day, although it has taken ten thousand 
years for the achievement, may easily be accessible in ten 
years to every man and woman in the nation. Discoveries 
known only to the finder one day may be the possession of 
the whole intellectual world the next, and of every school- 
boy the following year. One invention, the secret of one 
man to-day, may revolutionize the practice of ten thousand 
years in one year, and does so. 

When considered from the point of view of psychology, 
the permanence of the differences of education, taste, and 
capacity in the various social strata is seen to depend al- 
most wholly upon the imconsciousness of the masses to-day 
as to their own power and opportunity. Until a century 
ago, the masses of no nation could read or write. Now that 
they can and do both read and write, and that literature 
in their interests is being systematically circulated among 
them, it would seem no difficult feat, should a few set about 
the task, to wake them up fully to their responsibilities and 
privileges. There is no reason for not hoping for what at 
first thought seems the most xmlikely of all occurrences — 
the conversion of the priests and preachers of Christianity 
to the spirit, method, and results of Science and to her 
mastery over nature as the legitimate and rightful means 
in hastening the coming of the ELingdom of Heaven. 

If Mr. Bagehot intends to imply that the inborn brain 
power of members of the lower classes of society is as far 
behind that of the upper classes as was the brain power of 
all men two thousand years ago, the answer is that the 

ifcailar - "T 


brain capacity of people of the same race two thousand 
years ago was, for all we know, in no wise inferior to brain- 
power to-day. There has been no evolution of the stock 
of the upper classes as distinct from the stock of the 
lower classes, and there has been no evolution of the 
stock of the race in two thousand years, or apparently in 
ten thousand. So it is fairer to Mr. Bagehot to assume, as 
he does not say, that the inferiority he attributes to the 
working-classes is not at all that of congenital capacity, 
but of arrested development due to adverse environment. 

9. The Religion of Eugenics 

This question of native power and capacity leads us to 
another aspect in which Christianity plus Science will be 
able to do mightier works than ever did Christianity plus 
Supematuralism. The whole knowledge of our day, 
especially that of plant and animal life, leads to the belief 
that we can not only transform man's environment so that 
it shall be favourable to whatever powers the individual 
has, but that we may develop the stock of the race itself. 
Man's artificial selection and control of the stock from 
which plants and animals spring, and his gradually increas- 
ing knowledge of the laws, both qualitative and quanti- 
tative, which heredity reveals, together with our new 
sense of the necessity of improving the human stock, 
point to the prevention of the practice of bringing un- 
desirable human beings into the world. Persons not fit 
to propagate the species will either voluntarily abstain 
from doing so, or will be forced by public opinion to ab- 
stain. On the other hand, when once the situation is 
laid bare to the imaginations of men, those who could 
transmit qualities desired of the nation will have large 
families by personal preference, or will be moved by public 
opinion to render sudi service to the nation. If not in our 


day, there is reason to belie ve that in the course of a century 
of such investigation and reflection as have taken phce 
during the last decade a knowledge will be attained which 
will guide us in these matters. Already we know that 
families distinguished for sobriety, intelligence^ integrity, 
and sympathy transmit such qualities to oflfspring, and that 
persons descended on both sides from what is recognized 
as excellent stock are more capable than others of serving 
the nation well. 

Imagine now that all the priests and preachers of Amer- 
ica, adding Science to Christianity, should transform it 
into a Religion of Eugenics, and — never once dogmatizing 
beyond the tentative results and theories of observers — 
should preach the duties of motherhood and fatherhood 
as the foremost responsibility of woman and man. What 
a revolution, what a new strengthening of the foimdations 
of the nation ! Knowledge of heredity inevitably would 
direct the choice of human beings in the selection of mates. 
Those who know most of the psychology of sex know that 
there is no instinct in human nature more susceptible to 
domination by ideational forces than that which attracts 
the sexes. Thus the successors of Christ in the organiza- 
tion for the foimding of the Kingdom of Heaven, besides 
the new mastery of environment, will have also the new mas- 
tery of man over his own offspring. Even the mmibers of 
the population of any nation are in the control of the re- 
ligioiis teachers and educators ; the quantity as well as the 
quality of himian beings will henceforth be imder the 
Providence of the nation, the State, the Church of Christ. 




I. Church Services to express the Democratic Faith 

Nobody seems to deny the failure of the Christian 
churches to attract to themselves the masses of the people. 
The outstanding fact to-day of gloomiest import is not so 
much the breaking up of the Christian community into 
mutually antagonistic sects as the division of the nation 
into those who have some sort of religion and those who 
have none — at least none that is articulate and organized. 

All America is divided into two classes — those who have 
only their labour and self-respect to live by, and those who, 
owning land and capital, control the labour of others. The 
interests and sentiments of these two distinct sections of 
the conmiunity are not only different, but mutually repel- 
lent. The class war is on ; and agitators are inciting to class 
hatred. Now the churches have hitherto appealed to the 
self-respect and self-satisfaction of those who possess, 
or expect to possess, land and capital. In other words, the 
churches have appealed to the class that support them finan- 
cially ; and they who pay the piper of religion call the tune. 
That time is discordant to the ear of the intelligent pro- 
letariat. Those, accordingly, who have only their labour 
and their self-respect to live by are outside the churches. 
They have no organization, no recognized preachers of 
religion who appeal to their self-consciousness and their 
craving for self-realization. 

The inability of the churches to attract the working people 

has seemed of late deeply to alarm and set musing the pro- 



fessional leaders of religion. But these seem wholly in- 
capable of detectmg that pectdiarity in themselves and in 
their equipment which is the cause of their inability to 
draw the masses. They are conscious of no obliquity in 
their own hearts ; they want to do good to the wage-earn- 
ing classes. In our day they not only desire to save souls, 
but to rescue the masses from poverty. One notes how 
often they enjoin thrift upon the very poor. They have 
not realized that however pure their hearts, their intellectual 
outlook is wholly inadequate and has become the cause 
of the churches' shame. 

The whole tradition of preachers for centuries has taught 
them to care very much for purity of heart and almost not 
at all for intellectual grip of present facts. It is this one- 
sided tradition which has led them on a false scent in seek- 
ing out the causes of the religious apathy of the masses. 

When the spirit of social democracy enters into the heart 
of the preacher and the method of modem science becomes 
his habit of mind, his eyes will be opened. He will see the 
inadequacy of the faith he has been preaching, and he will 
begm not only to present that view of life and the universe 
which modem science and critical philosophy have begun 
to take, but he will turn back also to that kind of economic 
teaching which first rang forth from the lips of John Ball 
in England in the fourteenth century : — 

Good people, things will never go well in England so long 
as goods be not in common, and so long as there be villeins and 
gentlemen. By what right are they whom we call lords greater 
folk than we ? On what grounds have they deserved it ? Why 
do they hold us in serfage ? If we all come of the same father 
and mother, of Adam and Eve, how can they say or prove that 
they are better than we, if it be not that they make us gain 
for them by our toil what they spend in their pride ? They are 
clothed in velvet, and warm in their furs and their ermines, 
while we are covered with rags. They have wine and spices 

^^^aMitf'iili- ■ On 


and fair bread; and we oat-cake and straw, and water to 
drink. They have leisure and fine houses ; we have pain and 
labour, the rain and the wind in the fields. While it is of us and 
of our toil that these men hold their state. 

The ruling classes of his day thought John Ball mad; 
and the rich parishioners of our time will either leave the 
churches or dismiss the preachers of social democracy. 

In another chapter I point out that the preaching of the 
twentieth century is often ahead of the teaching embodied 
in our traditional forms and ceremonies. I there have 
in mind not social democracy, but only the methods, spirit, 
and results of critical philosophy. It is equally true, how- 
ever, from the point of view of democracy. Our present- 
day preaching is deplorable enough, but our old-fashioned 
rituals are abject. Our prayers, extemporaneous or writ- 
ten, as well as our hymns, anthems, and litanies, give the 
lie direct to the democratic faith, namely, that salvation, 
spiritual as well as physical, can come only by the intelli- 
gent enterprise of the whole people. Our hymns, anthems, 
and prayers, it is true, need not be wholly rewritten ; but 
only because they can be freshly interpreted. Even then 
they will prove an inadequate expression of the new sources 
of himian hope ; original forms by the living poets of democ- 
racy m\ist supplement them. Only a democratic ritual 
sung by a whole people can bring about the long-delayed 
fulfilment of that prophecy in the Magnificat : ''He hath 
scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He 
hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath ex- 
alted the humble and meek. He hath filled the himgry 
with good things : and the rich He hath sent empty away." 

2. Sir Henry Maine's Error about Democracy 

Many critical writers of the nineteenth century protested 
against the association of popular enthusiasms and mil- 


lennial visions with the word "democracy." They seemed 
to think they could dampen the ardour of democrats by 
pointing out that democracy is, after all, but a form of 
government. And how, they asked, can any one grow en- 
thusiastic and poetic over such a thing as a mere form of 
government? To them, differences of government were 
only differences of machinery and routine. This was the 
attitude taken by Sir Henry Maine, in his book on " Popular 
Government," where he devotes a whole chapter to the 
attempt to eradicate enthusiasm from the breasts of demo- 
crats. How can any sane man, he argues, wax enthusiastic 
over a mere form of government? Those who do so, he 
declares, must be ignorant of what they are talking about 
and need to be enlightened. He instances Mr. Edward 
Carpenter, although he concedes that Carpenter's little 
volume entitled "Towards Democracy" does not lack 
poetic force. He says : "The smallest conception of what 
democracy really is makes his rhapsodies about it astonish- 
ing. ... If the author had ever heard of the dictum of 
John Austin or M. Scherer that 'Democracy is a form of 
government,' his poetic vein might have been drowned, 
but his mind would have been invigorated by the healthful 
douche of cold water." But surely Sir Henry Maine 
misconceives the situation. He can point to no single 
word or line to prove that Mr. Edward Carpenter was not 
fully aware that democracy is never anything but a form 
of government. Indeed, this is the very thought which 
created in Mr. Carpenter's poetic mind its ruddy glow of 
enthusiasm. And how could it be otherwise? How does 
it diminish the significance of democracy when we see that 
it is only a form of government? Suppose the effects of 
that one form upon mankind at large are stupendously 
beneficent? Let any one read the poems of Whitman, 
Lowell, Swinburne, Carpenter, and Markham, and at the 
same time repeat mentally that the thing these poets find 

MwftiiwtJB ■ - m 


SO inspiring is only a form of government ; he will see that 
the dignity and meaning of the democratic chants, instead 
of being diminished, are enhanced. Indeed, the wonder 
of it all is the greater, that a merely mechanical device of 
politics should be fraught with well-nigh infinite weal to 

The truth is that Sir Henry Maine was overlooking the 
effects of the democratic form of government upon those 
hmnan energies which combine to create it, and those other 
human energies which through it are liberated and made 
effective. He abstracted it from the appetites and pas- 
sions, habits and fears, ideals and systems of philosophy 
which beget it and which it in turn begets. He regarded it 
simply from the point of view of social statics. He thought 
of it out of relation to human causes and human effects. 
But the real meaning even of a trick of politics can never 
be seen or appreciated imtil it is understood in relation to 
the purposes and imagination which conceived it and to 
the ends which it serves. 

3. The Dynamics of Democracy 

Poets have never praised wine on accoimt of its chemical 
composition, but they have very often sung in honour of it 
because of its cheering effects upon the mind and body of 
those who drink it. Likewise they praise simlight, not for 
its inherent nature as vibrations, but because of its immedi- 
ate glory to the human eye and its beneficence to all living 
creatures. Accordingly, if one must disparage democracy 
because it is merely a form of government, one must like- 
wise argue that there is nothing glorious, for instance, in a 
mere prism because it is only a shape of glass. Yet into 
that prism the light from the sun pours white, but rushes 
forth drenched in all the hues of the rainbow. And on this 
account there are some of us whose hearts leap up when 

aya the soul or America 

we behold the prismatic splendours, axui who are not 
ashamed to transfer the delight that we have in them to the 
mechanism which produces them. We maintain that it 
is folly to abstract the prism from the light which it 
refracts. Indeed, tousit is a prism by virtue of the effects 
it produces; its meaning and value do not east for us other- 

The truth is, a merely statical study of popular govern- 
ment is superficiality itself. The student must move on 
to consider the dynamics of the institutions he is examining. 
Then he will be rewarded with real insight into causes and 
effects. And if he be capable of awe, admiration, disin- 
terested terror, and humane sympathy, he will find himself 
thrilled by the mighty meanings of that which at first was 
merely a form of government. For in the end he will dis- 
cover that democracy is a gateway opening into the City 
of the Light. Or, if he have no faith in the people, it will 
inspire him with alarm, as it did Edmund Burke, when he 
sounded the note of terror against the French Revolution. 

That which stimulates historians, statesmen, and poets 
to outbursts either of terror or admiration when they re- 
gard democracy, is the imprecedented magnitude of the 
capacities of popular government for evil or for good. What 
a people, when fully awake and determined, may do through 
a democratic form of government is beyond all measure 
greater than what any king or nobility or middle class may 
achieve, while the masses of the people lie apathetic and 
passive. Nero were innocence and harmlessness itself 
compared to a whole nation of men and women, able to 
express then: will through their form of government, in 
moments of national vanity or lust for revenge. Some- 
thing like this Edmxmd Burke foresaw in France and feared 
for England. On the other hand, imagine a whole nation, 
each one of its members inspired with an ideal of human 
service and efficiency ; imagine each man and woman con- 


tributing genius, skill, self-control and provident pity, and 
expressing character through a form of government happily 
devised to this end. 

4. The Inside of the Democratic Cup 

The dynamic point of view alone opens up to us the 
essential secret of popular government. It furnishes us the 
only approach to the inside of social institutions. The 
study of social dynamics is an investigation in himian 
motives and outward stimuli to those motives. The 
forces that make and immake institutions are men's hopes, 
ambitions, appetites, fears, fancies, doctrines, and faiths. 
It is true that these psychic forces themselves are reacted 
upon and modified by different institutions, but inasmuch 
as institutions, economic and political, do react upon men's 
hearts and minds and wills, they must never be regarded 
as merely mechanical. They are so many irritants to 
thinking, feeling, and willing. They mu^t be viewed as 
psychic factors in the moral universe of man, and not as 
inert and outside facts. In studying the relation of popu- 
lar government to organized religion, of social democracy 
to church discipline, it is especially worthy of note that 
this dynamic point of view — the study of motives as the 
cause of institutions and the study of institutions as stimuli 
to desires — is the one which each person always assimies 
when observing and estimating himself. He sees and 
feels himself to be a creative agent. Although he sees him- 
self to be a creature as well as a creator, he is conscious of 
himself as not having been fully created as yet. He is 
waiting a chance to be created and is conscious within 
himself of adequate power. He may be fully aware that 
his character at any given moment is a balance of impulses 
in equilibrium, but to him that balance is not a finality. 
Even from within himself he may disturb it. He is, more- 


over, never interested in himself as an accomplished fact, 
but always as a potentiality. He knows himself to be 
capable of responding to forces that have not yet had a 
chance to operate upon him. He is ''moving about in 
worlds not realized" ; and when he judges himself he in- 
cludes in his selfhood what he aspires to be equally with 
what he has been. He takes to himself credit for what he 
might have done but was prevented by accident from 
achieving. For he knows his own secrets; and while 
others may mistake his actual record for a revelation of 
himself, he counts it rather as a concealment of what he 
really is. He knows well enough what other circumstances 
might have brought to light and life. It is as if gunpowder 
were conscious beforehand of what the accidental dis- 
coverer found out only after a spark touched it. Now 
this inward point of view in investigation and criticism is 
the only scientific one when the subject for consideration 
is oneself, another man, a nation or any institution within 
a nation, even a form of government. The dynamic study 
of social phenomena also furnishes the only standard for 
judging of the moral worth and the political significance 
both of individuals and institutions. Nor can any one 
doubt that the exercise of sympathetic imagination, which 
sees every human being as a point of creative energy, 
which views every one from the inside and recognizes him 
as a creature sensitive to stimuli from without, is the motive 
and original attitude of the Christian religion. There is, 
therefore, an identity of nature between Christianity and 
democracy ; they both unlock the hidden and secret springs 
of spiritual energy within every individual breast. If this 
be so, however, there is a tragic irony in the tradition of 
the churches, which have held out longer than any other 
human institutions against the spirit of democracy. 
Religion to this day has been less touched by that spirit 
than any other human interest. 


5. The Religious Individualism of Professed Socialists 

But the churches must become sodal-democratic ; or the 
people will see to it that they are "cast as rubbish to the 
void when God hath made the pile complete." The re- 
ligious organizations must act on the presupposition that 
their whole end and essence is to develop the nation into a 
spiritual organism; that is, one in which every moral 
agent is at the same time both means and end to all the 
others, no one in any particular being used merely as a tool 
by others or by the whole, and no one becoming exclusively 
an end, but always serving in turn. Such a nation would 
be the Kingdom of Heaven — on earth. 

The professed Socialists have always been blind to the 
identity of religion and nationality. They believe that 
religion is purely a private affair. But one is justified in 
asking them whether they know anything about the real 
nature of religion, or have ever carefully studied the 
sociological function of the churches. Have they worked 
out a philosophy of religion by noting its social causes 
and effects, do they believe in religion at all, in the way in 
which they believe in their economic remedies and political 
theories ? It must never be forgotten, moreover, when the 
authority of present-day Socialists is dted, that their 
Socialism itself is still so permeated with its very opposite 
— philosophic Anarchy — that it is not yet half itself. 
Before one pays full respect to the authority of any man 
who calls himself a Socialist, one must give ear to detect 
whether it be the Socialist or the Anarchist in him that is 
speaking. Social reformers, furthermore, have hitherto 
so exclusively concentrated attention upon economic and 
material wealth that they have fallen into the error of 
imagining that physical possessions constitute the whole 
domain for the application of the principle of nationaliza- 
tion. This again proves that many so-called Socialists 



are half Anarchists. They relegate to Anarchy one who! 
lulf of human fife, and that the better half — tiK idfiui 
life. A thtnou^ social ptaiMapby would brieve ia the 
nadonaliiatioiinot fxdy of man's b^xnir, but of man's kve. 

6. IsotatUm fatal to Clmekes 

If I be right in contending that tlie chnrdm at a oountzy 
are to be judged as centres for the moral educatton of the 
nati(Hi, they have cmnmitted an abnoat bital bhmda in 
bidding aloof from pditks and ecoiumuc reform. TV? 
have each shut themselves off frtnn rcgener a tfaig toudi 
with the present-day life of the worid outdde their own 
organizations. Each denomination b^an with a protest 
against traditions which it believed to be evil; yet they 
are all to-day devoting the whole of their energy to the 
upholding of some peculiar tenet which the critical world 
at large r^ards as obsolete. Accordingly, each denomina- 
tion has ceased to be a running stream of the waters of life, 
and has become a stagnant pool of ancient belids. Ori^- 
nally, every sect sprang from the democratic spirit ; but they 
have all in turn, for the sake of self-preservation, guarded 
their doctrine jealously from the modifying influences of 
new thought and experience. Not a single Protestant de- 
nomination fell back, as it ought to liave done, upon the 
authority of living reason and the progressive consdence 
of the nation when it threw off the authority of priestly 
Councils. In place of the priests it set up Uie Bible. It 
did not look for redemption, as it would if it had originated 
in an age Uke ours, to the quickening and illuminating power 
of the living social will. Every denomination also con- 
tinued to trust to an outside and miracle-working Deity. 
Nothing could have been more anti-democratic and un- 
modem. The religious ideas of all the churches are an 
inheritance from times against which the modem spirit 





has revolted. That the churches still clmg to their old 
traditions can only be explained by the fact that when 
they abandoned the ideal destiny of the nation as their 
own goal, they cut themselves oflf from the source of spiritual 
insight. Whatever institution severs itself from Uie cur- 
rents of national life is foredoomed, unless perchance in the 
throes of some great social upheaval it again allies itself 
with the aims and visions of the common life. 

Nothing but the isolation of each denomination from all 
others and from economic and political interests can explain 
the appaUing fact that no religious sect has ever received 
any new revelation after the initial impulse which organized 
it. The only eternal revealer is the reason of a whole 
nation, the living conscience of an entire people. To that 
source of light and life no church, except at its inception, has 
ever appealed. No wonder, then, that the religious organi- 
zations of the nation are not in the vanguard of science and 
reform. No wonder that they bring no message to our 
day. Their religion is out of touch with modem thought 
in the sense that its fimdamental principle is antagonistic 
to the motive, method, and results of modem research. 

7. Not Toleraiion, but Coffperation in Religion 

The various religious bodies, in accepting toleration in- 
stead of codperation among themselves and with the world 
at large, have rejected the democratic principle of reUgion 
for all and by all. Yet in spiritual as in dvil life, the appli- 
cation of this principle is the only possible method of arriv- 
ing at the moral unification of a people. It is also the 
only way of attaining eternal and universal tmth. Every 
denomination has thus far closed its heart in pride against 
the redemptive power of social democracy. It has failed 
wholly to see that contact with the surging and conflicting 
thoughts and efforts in the whole nation is necessary if it is 



to keep quite sane and broadly human in its religious beliefs. 
It has failed to realize that every devout person must put 
himself into receptive yet alert relation with the entire 
genius of the times, in oidtx to be aUe by xeaction to ooo- 
tribute his own wisdom and eiqxziaice to the aa&m't 
qnritual fund. As with each individual, so witii emiy 
retifpous society. As onnpaied with the gaiexal fife and 
thou^t of the world to-day, the churches have become 
iQorbid ant^ dogmatic, priggish, s^-satisfied, and ahnost 
tmconsdoiis of the ddects which their isolation has bred in 

From the ptant of view tji social democracy, sectariamam 
— the q>litttng off of sect from sect, and of all sects from 
the nation as an organic unit of qnritual life — is a great rin. 
Nor has that sin been without its inevitable punishmenL 
Witness the moral evils which have setUed down upon 
John Wesley's once vital and quickening movement because 
it cut itself off, or was content to be cut off, from contact 
with the historic Church. Wesley's movement during his 
life was the most ethical and vital since Luther's, yet until 
quite recently it went on splitting up and splitting up again 
within itself, and becoming more and more aloof from the 
main currents of life. And each new group of Methodists 
grew proud of its own aloofness. 

The glorious movement of the Society of Friends reveals 
the same tragic decay from within because it also has not 
remained in organized unity with the whole nation's life. At 
first the Quaker movement was not only quickened by the 
spirit of democratic and national unrest ; it was also clearly 
consdoua that the democratic spirit was the Holy Ghost. 
The Society of Friends, however, as an organization and as 
an upholder of the simple life, has until quite recently been 
dyii^ out. As a quickener of the nation's fimdamental 
thoughts it is still practically dead. But concerning none 
of the denominations do, I spe£ik as a prophet of evil; I 



believe in the resurrection of nations, I believe in the resur- 
rection of religious bodies ; and I also believe in the resur- 
rection of parties. There is no inherent necessity that any 
organized group of spiritual or social life shall ever die. 
It may revive after continuing to exist for generations in a 
state of suspended animation. But let me return to the 
melancholy history of one other religious denomination 
which began with glorious promise. 

)^tness the devitalization of Unitarianism. It was the 
only religious organization to champion himian reason; 
yet it has scarcely been able in the last decades to preserve 
its earlier hold in the commimity. Some Unitarians them- 
selves incline to believe that its work has already been 
accomplished. They think that it has sufficiently per- 
meated with its thought all the other religious denomi- 
nations to justify it in retiring from aggressive propaganda. 
But one must ask : Why has the Unitarian body absorbed 
no new light, no added strength, no fresh enthusiasm? 
Were there no further revelations ahead in the direction 
of its first philosophic discoveries ? Were there no improve- 
ments possible in its methods ? Could it not have become 
the conqueror of new worlds of principle and fact, of policy 
and discipline ? I cannot otherwise explain the lamentable 
decline of Unitarianism than on the ground that it is always 
a fatal error to accept isolation and toleration instead of 
demanding full recognition and complete organic inclusion 
in the total religious organization of a nation. 

Indeed, as one reads the history of all the denominations, 
from their thrilling origin to their pitiable resignation, one 
feels that to be content with isolation is worse than an 
error. It is a sign of spiritual pride. It is a proof that it 
has turned in some degree from social humility to self- 
worship. And nothing blinds the judgment like self- 
centred pride. It has been, therefore, not only an error, 
it has been a sin of the churches that they were willing to 


be in the nation but not of the nation. The deadening 
effect of this sin in the case of all the denominations has set 
rapidly in; in a few brief generations the strength had 
gone out of each of them. 

8. Debate to he an Item in Public Worship 

Social democracy in religion, as distinct from religious 
toleration, would subject the moral idealism of each church 
to incessant debate by the laity. Social democracy always 
means correction and reform through debate. If it entered 
into the churches, it would instantly begin to set up a process 
of reorganization. It would mean in religion what it would 
mean in industry — ownership and control by the living 
community. The ownership would be that of the powers 
in man and nature which make for righteousness. Social 
democracy in religion means the ownership and control of 
the instruments of disciplining character, of fostering 
virtue, of opening the eyes of the spirit, of training the 
moral judgment by bringing the attention of every man 
and woman and child to bear upon the great issues of life. 
Social democracy in religion means that the nation itself 
shall lead the way to spiritual salvation, to moral health, 
long life, and innocent gladness. Social democracy in 
religion means a church of the whole people, by the whole 
people, for the whole people — women and men alike. 

When we begin to compare the principles, methods, and 
outlook of social democracy in religion with the forms of 
anti-democratic government and teaching which have pre- 
vailed among all religious bodies, we are especially struck 
by one peculiarity which makes the prevalent governments 
and doctrines of the churches harder to reform and remove 
than are similar customs and prejudices in any other de- 
partment of life. If, for instance, we consider the existing 
systems of land tenure, we find that while the form of 



ownership is that of the few for the few at the expense of 
the many, nevertheless the few for whom the land is 
monopolized are always at least the living, and never the 
dead of a past generation. The monopoly is preserved in 
the interest of the present landlords and of their children. 
But if we turn to the systems of religion, we note the abso- 
lute dictation of a few persons of a past generation. The 
churches are to-day preserving methods that spiritually 
were of help in the time of Edward VI or Oliver Cromwell 
or Charles II or George III. All of them are upholding 
practices made by a few of a former generation for a genera- 
tion long since dead. The Methodist churches of our day, 
a century and more after the death of Wesley, are still 
governed by his thought, and for a kind of people under a 
kind of conditions which no longer exist anywhere. Social 
democracy in religion would mean the spiritual life through- 
out the whole nation organized and reinterpreted year by 
year by all the men and women who are interested in the 
ideal aims of humanity, in the interest of the citizens of 
all future time. 

Let it be clearly observed that a recognition of the claims 
of social democracy within the sphere of rehgion does not 
involve a committal to any specific creeds or rites. The 
responsibility to determine rites and doctrines must rest 
with the people of any given time or place. Consistent 
with this liberty perpetually to recast statements and adopt 
new principles is the whole argument of this book. I have 
not been pleading that my own mdividual convictions and 
tastes deserve to be adopted. I have had no more in mind 
than that my peculiar beliefs should be allowed a place side 
by side with hundreds of others in an organized cooperation 
of all religious bodies in the service of the nation. I have 
advocated religious inclusion and cooperation. I cannot 
see why the champions of a hundred rival creeds and forms 
should not work together in a national church in the same 



way in which men of conflicting political and economic 
theories work together on municipal and national councils. 
And there is no reason why majorities in religion should not 
respect minorities as majorities do in politics. 

I believe that as a result of centuries of oot^>eiative effint 
oonqilete unifonnity may be brought about But vari^ 
of convictioti and practice would be far better than any 
forcible suppression of any one's individually. Tbgxe need 
neves' be any danger that the teachings and diac^itines <tf 
the past will ever again trammel the q>iritual evolutirai «l 
the nation. It would seem that we are on the threshold 
of an epoch in which religiotis controversy will dominate as 
never before. We are entering upon an era not unlike that 
preceding the Civil War in England in the ^zteenth cen- 
tury. But then the leaders attempted to suppress free 
discussion ; now the religious organizations themselves will 
probably invite and stimulate the fullest and freest expres- 
sion of the most original opinions. For many within the 
churches see that honest doubt is the only way to poative 
faith. In^de authority, as Whitman says, must take pre- 
cedence of outside authority. Private judgment will be 
encouraged because it is the only way for the individual to 
arrive at universal reason. Only if a man thinks freely 
can he think fully ; and to think fully is to drop all eccen- 
tricity or whim or private bias. At first, if there be many 
minds, there will be many opinions, but after a time a 
consensus of opinion is inevitable if the minds be sane. 

We have, I believe, already entered upon an era in which 
many religious leaders are ready to act upon the principle 
formulated by Milton, when he says: "Where there is 
much desire to learn, there, of necessity, will be much argu- 
ing, much writing, many opinions; for opinion in good 
men is but knowledge in the making." We are all coming 
to see with Martineau that, "A relipon forbidden to im- 
prove, instead of growing upwards into statelier proper- 



tions, breaks into lateral deformities as the only vent for 

its vitality." Or, to return to Milton : ** Truth is compared 

in Scripture to a streaming fountain. If her waters flow 

not in a perpetual progression, they sicken into a muddy 

pool of conformity and tradition. ... He who thinks we 

are to pitch our tents here, and have attained the utmost 

prospect of reformation that the mortal glass wherein we 

contemplate can show us, till we come to beatific vision : 

that man by this very opinion declares that he is yet 

far short of the truth. . . . The Kght which we have 

gained was given us not to be ever staring on, but by it 

to discover onward things, more remote from our know- 

9. The Social Psychology of Religion 

All the churches of Protestantism in their rebellion against 
Rome have rejected the organic and social conception of the 
church and have adopted an atomistic and individualistic 
psychology of religion. They regard themselves as aggre- 
gates or federations of voluntary hmnan atoms which 
come together. They count themselves as nothing more 
than the arithmetical sum of their separate members. 
They are instances of Rousseau's social contract ; they are 
.private enterprise concerns as much as any business com- 
pany, into which people enter on a bargain of gain and 
mutual benefit. No Protestant, historic in temper, respects 
his church more than himself, or certainly not more than 
he does all the members. An organic philosophy of reli- 
gion tends on the other hand, so to speak, to a deification 
of the church. It is the Bride of Christ. Its unifying and 
quickening spirit is Christ, living and working in the world 
to-day. According to the social psychology of our times, a 
church is an organic unit of spiritual life, and the individual 
man or woman is but a constituent part. According to 
this new view, it is not so much the individual who gives 


its moral power to the church as the church that quickens 
the individual. The general is prior to the particular in 
the order of a spiritual philosophy of society. 

There can be no doubt that the real source of moral 
enthusiasm is always the g^eral will of a group of persons 
in devotion to an ideal. If the Holy Ghost be interpreted 
as the organizing spirit of the church, the unifying will of 
its members, then some sort of a deification of the church 
would seem justifiable. The group in its unity is felt to 
be the indwelling Christ, the living God. 

ID. A Rdigian teaching Sdf-resfect 

Having set forth the vital significance of social democ- 
racy as it bears upon the church problem of our day, let 
me now indicate one of the chief characteristics of social- 
democratic reKgion as contrasted with what is offered to 
the poor in the sermons of the traditional churches. No 
religion can be compatible with the spirit of social democ- 
racy which does not teach self-respect as the primary 
religious virtue. Sacrilege has been committed against the 
highest in himianity by those teachers of religion who have 
traced to a superhuman and supernatural source every- 
thing in man that was beautiful, pure, and holy, giving man 
no credit for it, while they have assigned to human nature 
whatever was base or mean. In order to glorify their 
transcendent Deity, they have attempted to strip man of 
every vestige of self-respect, declaring that whatever 
emanated from his own heart was to be counted but as 
filthy rags. Their method of conversion was first to awaken 
self-loathing and self-abasement and a sense of dependence 
for any spiritual strength upon a power which was neither 
man nor nature, but which held man both soul and body 
in its almighty grip. So far as I am aware, no single re- 
ligious denomination that has acknowledged the divinity 

^*^»^. i^Tj : 



of Jesus Christ has rejected this teaching; even George 
Fox the Quaker, when questioned by Oliver Cromwell, 
asserted that the inner light was not man's light. When 
Cromwell assented to the existence of the inner light, but 
insisted that it was natural to man, George Fox protested 
that it was supernatural. Thus every recognized Christian 
denomination has given the lie to man's higher nature, to 
the very essence of his selfhood, to the witness of his own 
conscious spirit. No wonder that the people, accepting 
the priest's low valuation of themselves, have fallen under 
the power of spiritual dictators and their allies, the princes. 
How deep is the infamy of the priest's wrong against human 
nature, we can see when we realize that even after well- 
nigh two centuries of growing democracy in all other 
spheres of human interest, religion is only now beginning 
to see the spiritual significance of democracy. Only now 
is the doctrine of God's inmianence in the social con- 
science beginning to be preached. Only now is it real- 
ized that God is identical with the saving powers in our 
social humanity and with the regenerating energy of our 
higher selfhood. 

At last we see that the perfect is the fulfilment of what 
is prefigured in the constitution of man, despite his 
wickedness and error. We see that evil is an abnormality, 
and contrary to the fundamental trend of the human will. 
It is true that evil is a part of the universe, and that there- 
fore the universe itself, being both good and evil, may be 
said to be neither good nor bad. We see also that hiunan 
beings are never wholly good nor wholly bad. But the 
good is organic, structural, and constitutional, while the 
bad is recognized as a foreign growth. We further find that 
man, in his conscious purpose and in proportion as his 
intelligence is awake and his experience wide, is distinctly 
on the side of his own constitution and against the evil 
that preys on him. This is true not only of individual 


human beings, but also of the general purpose of social life. 
The will of the community, when awake, always sides with 
the good, and sets itself to extirpate the bad. It is grossly 
untrue and cruel, therefore, to assign only the evil to human 
nature and to attribute all goodness to the inflowing of 
superhuman grace. This is as false as it would be to say 
that insanity only is natural, and that sanity is super- 
natural in its origin. But we know perfectly weLl that in 
proportion as a man is not sane he is not a man. Insanity 
is natural in him ; but it is not constitutional, structural, 
or organic; it is something external, which obUterates the 
human. What could be more unpardonable than that the 
guides of the people should attempt to persuade men that 
lunacy was the inevitable condition of every mortal, ezcq)t 
for some superhuman power, which by its own grace — that 
is, irrespective of man's right and desert — should communi- 
cate understanding and wisdom? Yet it is just such an 
unforgivable wrong, and a worse one, which traditional 
religion has perpetrated. What could have been more 
detrimental to man's spiritual insight than first to persuade 
him that he was blind ? Indeed, there can be no doubt 
that the teaching has produced blindness. The idea 
thrown out has taken demoniacal possession and worked 
out its detailed effects; and then the induced blindness 
has seemed to substantiate and fortify the lie that induced 
it. I will not say that all those who have taught that 
goodness comes from a transcendent source of grace have 
been conscious deceivers ; but one is justified in asserting 
that this doctrine arose among people in the ruling classes 
of society who had tasted of power and found it sweet, and 
were tempted to secure their privilege and prestige by teach- 
ing a philosophy favourable to their own ascendency. This 
doctrine ^rang up as the Christian faith began to take 
possesion of the ruling classes of the Roman Empire. 
Social democracy is at last bc^nning to interpret itself 

miiMmm • iw 


spiritually and ethically; it sees the majesty of its own 
motives. This revelation could not have come about were 
it not that now for more than a hundred years, in the actual 
struggle of class with class, the higher nature of man has 
been asserting and organizing itself into a mighty power 
for social redemption. Filled with a new sense of justice, 
the people have risen up and thrown off tyrants ; the moxm- 
tains are being brought low, and the valleys are being 
raised. Out of these experiences and social trends, to 
account for them and give them place in the philosophy of 
life, has sprung up the doctrine of the immanence of God, 
of his identity with the truly human. What zest, what 
clearing of the eye and steadying of the gaze, what new 
elasticity of tread and consecration of the human body, 
what a sublime sense of personal responsibility and of the 
dignity of every human life, become the heritage of the 
common people, with the throwing off of the old dogma, 
and the taking to heart of the new philosophy of religion I 
After a generation has been reared on the doctrine that 
one's deeper self is God, there will be no drunkards, no 
prostitutes nor suicides, none driven to despair and mad- 
ness by the meaninglessness of life. After a generation has 
been bred to the teaching of the religion of self-respect, 
there will be no outcast class, no army of the unemployed, 
no children bom of self-indulgence. The old-fashioned 
teaching was a direct disparagement to righteous conduct, 
to moral originality, and to enthusiasm. To teach men 
that it was impossible to do right except as a superhuman 
power came into them and communicated its energy was 
equivalent to discouraging them from exercising the power 
they possessed and turning to their neighbours for support. 
We now see that the grace which was attributed to some 
being outside of organized society really issued from the 
stored-up virtue of the sodal life about them, and the 
creative energy latent within them. But not to see this, 


not to have realized that men do good as naturally as they 
open their eyes, was to discourage them and to coerce them 
into intellectual conformity and economic submission. 

When the churches become democratic, they will bring 
about such a revival of religion as the world has not known 
since the founding of Christianity. And this religion will 
in turn enlighten and strengthen democracy in economic 
and political life. The cause of social justice has only 
needed the backing of organized religion in order to sweep 
away the entrenched iniquity of ages. For that iniquity, 
although the support it received was disguised, has hitherto 
been upheld and sustained by the churches. When sodal 
democracy enters the domain of religious life, it will seize 
the churches, and will convert them from defences of 
private monopoly in land and capital into strongholds of 
economic equality. 






I. For the Storage and Transmission of National Idealism . 

My proposition is that all the various reKgious denomi- 
nations should so transform their respective services as 
to make them instruments of modem hope and modem 
thought and modem faith. What we need is a manual 
of religious worship that will serve for the social storage 
and transmission of modem ethical himianism. 

It may seem to some preposterous that a mere manual 
of new church services could have any such effects as I 
anticipate. But it can appear so only to those who have 
overlooked the importance of other similar devices in 
religion and of machinery in other spheres of himian 
enterprise. We are apt to forget that preaching is a 
mechanical device; yet the invention of it secured the 
spread of Christianity throughout the Western world. 
We are liable to forget that the keeping of one day in 
seven sacred to the moral interests of a nation is a 
mechanical device of a very evident order; yet it was 
the means of preserving Judaism for many centuries 
even after the Jewish nation had lost its independence. 
It must be remembered that social meetings at stated 
intervals for the worship of a nation's God are nothing 
but a tool shaped and used for certain ends. Yet that 
tool has been the means of accomplishing those ends. 

It should further be remembered that these purely 


medutnical, natural dn^ces of human ingeauity are Ae 
means by which supernatural religions have been per- 
petuated. Their efficiency is beyond all question. Who, 
therefore, can doubt that these same means, if used con- 
sciously to the end of national ethical idealism, would prove 
equally efficadoua? 

Now, one of the many mechanical instruments for the 
promu^tion of religious ideas is this which I have been 
advocating — a TnttTinn] of services fitted to a nation's jhvs- 
ent needs — but it is an instrument which has been ahuost 
forgotten. Nobody couM fail to see that any new reti- 
pous movement must naturally resort to preaching as a 
method of propa^nda; and, in fact, sudi a method is 
adopted. Nor do many persons question the rightness and 
appropriateness of using one day of rest in seven as the 
most opportune time for the oral spread of new ideas. But 
a manual of leligious rites and ceremonies has been wholly 
discarded by those who have rejected supematuraliMn. 
They seem to have imagined that such a thing is in its very 
nature fit only to be an instnmient for the propagation 
of spiritism. They refuse to use it because it is associated 
too unpleasantly in their minds with the beliefs which they 
have outgrown. The result is a predicament of the gravest 

How can the new moral idealism be spread and become 
a mighty national asset ; how can it change from an exclu- 
sive philosophy of the few into an enerfflzing religion of 
the whole nation, if it allows the enemies of science and 
democracy to hold a monopoly of the chief mechanical 
means of commtmlcating from one man to another reli- 
gious principles, sentiments, and inward meanings ? For- 
mula, rites, and ceremonies used by a social group consti- 
tute that chief mechanical means. 

If any one wishes to know why humanitarian f reetbought 
has scarcely made any progress in two thousand years as 


an organizing, nation-building force, let him not imagine 
that it is because it is inherently negative, disruptive, or 
destructive. Let him be well assured that it is because 
freethinkers have in the past never realized the supreme 
importance of concreting their himianistic idealism into a 
cult; while on the other hand the champions of super- 
naturalistic religion have fully appreciated the necessity 
for such devices. In the past, rationalistic idealism has 
always been individualistic and non-aesthetic. It has 
always imdervalued the debt which original minds owe 
to the common mind about them. It has always de- 
preciated the artistic, poetic, and symbolic way of com- 
municating ideas. It has always overestimated the 
independent resources of the individual — especially of 
his reasoning powers. We have no evidence of the 
failure of a rationalistic idealism which was at the same 
time social in spirit and symbolical in its methods of 
presentation. Accordingly, we are justified in thinking 
that psychological socialism and ritualistic methods of 
propaganda would prove as powerful in the spread of 
ethical realism as they have been in the perpetuation of 
supematuralism. We have, therefore, reason to beheve 
that whoever prepares a book of common humanistic 
devotion, adequate for a scientific and democratic age, 
will do for the spread of humanistic religion such a 
service as Marconi or Edison or Lister or Pasteur has 
done for trade, commerce, and medical and sanitary art. 
Until the new idealism possesses its own manual of 
religious ritual, it cannot communicate effectively its 
deeper thought and purpose. The moment, however, 
it has invented such a means of communication, it would 
seem inevitable that a rapid moral and intellectual 
advancement of man must at last take place, equal in 
speed and in beneficence to the material advancement 
which followed during the last century in the wake of 

scientific inventioDs. Only the instTument for tike 
storage and transmisMon of the new klenHwn has been 

a. Services as compared with Sermcm 

If my contention for the unique value of a hui 
book of leligious services be opposed on the ground that 
single informal pleaching oi naturalistic nx>ral idealism 
would be far more effective and more congenial to en- 
li^tened m^i, a con^lete answer is ready at hand. 
Preaching presiq>poses preadiers. But the great lack 
is an instrument to educate the majcmty oi preachen. A 
small minori^ could prepare a manual, which the less 
gifted could adopt. Preaching presupposes also a wealthy 
and powerful organizatioD to support and direct these 
preachers. But with a millionth part of the wealth re- 
quired to do this, a suitable manual of ethical services could 
be printed and placed on sale in every town throughout 
the English-spes^ing world. Then, without any elaborate 
organization or great expense, any group of sympathizers 
anywhere could organize themselves and hold regular meet- 
ings where the services could be practised. A meeting 
using the hymns, canticles, selections from literature, and 
statements of principle contained in such a manual could 
create within itself an atmosphere of moral faith and en- 
thusiasm which would quicken into new life every one who 
participated in it. If such a manual also contained mar- 
riage and fimeral services, it would make it possible im- 
mediately to conduct wedding and burial rites. 

Nothing has more astonished me than the actual ex- 
perience of this one great difference between the preach- 
ing of a sermon and the celebration of a ceremony. 
I have often regretted as a preacher my inability to 
be in a hundred places at once. This inability limited 
each sermon to its one utterance or to a weari- 



somely slow repetition week after week. But having 
twenty years ago elaborated and conducted an ethical 
marriage ceremony, I was immediately invited to 
lend copies of it to various persons throughout England, 
and they reported to me that all who were present where 
it was used by them were gratified that at last a marriage 
rite consonant with their own convictions and not too 
defective in form had come into existence. 

In the same way, by means of a manual of services, it 
might be possible for one organization inspired by human- 
istic moral idealism to spread its ideas a thousandfold 
more rapidly than it could otherwise do. 

3. Christian Science an Instance 

Many persons have been astonished and possibly even 
terrified by the rapid development of Christian Science 
during the last decade. This teaching is already in evi- 
dence in England, as well as America, even in brick and 
stone — which, whatever else it means, proves that many 
persons of wealth believe that Christian Science has come 
to stay. The rich, however lavish in expenditure upon 
pleasures, seldom give to good causes which they believe 
are only transient crazes. So astonishing has been the or- 
ganized growth of Christian Science that many have sought 
to explain its spread as one more evidence of man's innate 
love of mystery. Many have even been tempted to find 
in it a proof that unregenerate hiunan nature craves for 
the supernatural. I myself knew no other cause to which 
the phenomenon could be traced imtil, drawn by curiosity 
rather than by any intention of discovering its causes, I 
attended a Sunday evening meeting of a Christian Science 
Church. I entered the auditorium of this Temple, with its 
chaste and simple style of architecture. I had known 
nothing whatever of the order of a Christian Science meeting. 


Imagine, then, the revelation it was to me, who for years 
had been drifting, by some inevitable train of logic and ex- 
perience, into a reaJization of the necessity for rites and 
ceremonies to supplement preaching, to find that here there 
was no preaching at all. Reliance was placed exclusively 
upon a set and prescribed ritual. 

Some great organizing genius had been preparing prac- 
tical means for the transmission in the most effective way 
of the Christian Science gospel. Into my hand was placed 
a leaflet containing references to a hymn-book, to Mrs. 
Eddy's '^ Science and Health," and to the Bible, arranged 
for use for every Simday in the then current quarter of 
the year. Thus it had been made possible for any little 
group of Christian Scientists immediately to conduct a 
religious service of an hour in length. No great organiza- 
tion was required. I have since been told by members 
of the Christian Science Church that generally tlie religious 
services of any new group are at first conducted in the 
drawing-room of a private house. Such has been the 
ingenuity and foresight of the organizers of this movement. 
Its statesmen have proved themselves worthy to be leaders 
of the Order of Jesuits, so subtle and instinct with common 
sense has been their judgment in constructing out of ma- 
terials almost hopeless, as I should have thought, a ritual 
full of variety and interest and yet centring in one dominant 
idea. As I went away from the meeting, blessed by its ele- 
vated influence despite my rejection of every tenet of its 
metaphysics, I found myself mightily reenforced also in 
the conviction that the ritual is tlie thing. National 
idealism needs what its disciples have all along till now been 
too dull to think of giving it. I said to myself: "This 
sectarian doctrine of the Christian Scientists, which takes 
a truth of limited range (the power of ideas to beget health, 
happiness, and character) and extends it into a imiversal 
law, has been embodied in a liturgy which is rapidly winning 



converts. How much more rapidly would a religion of 
national idealism spread if it had but foimd its poet- 
statesman, its prophet-priest, shrewd and wise enough to 
have constructed its ritual, not omitting from it either 
man or woman or rhythm or song or social silence or the 
voices of the congregation speaking in imison or the power- 
ful reinforcements from the literatures of the world ! How 
rapid from state to state and dty to city would be the 
growth of the social-democratic church of America the 
moment an adequate manual of national idealism was at 
the disposal of every little group of men and women to 
which social service was the essence of true religion." 

4. Preaching alone Inadequate 

The inadequacy of preaching alone as an instrument of 
propaganda, at least at the beginning of a new reli^ous 
movement, arises from the fact that inevitably there are 
never more than a few preachers who grasp the real 
character of any new message. The result is, if it spreads 
rapidly and forms groups of disciples, the new movement 
is sure to break loose from its original moorings and 
to drift. Almost imperceptibly it suffers an unintended 
mental change. Nothing could prevent this alteration 
unless the spoken word of the preacher was somehow 
kept close to the central thought of the movement by 
written and more or less authoritative statements, which 
were recognized by the whole group as containing its 
essential meaning. As such statements are often to be 
consulted, they should embody the message in condensed 
and vivid form, in a style suitable for reading again and 
again, and should prove inexhaustible of meaning after 
many ponderings. So, while it may be granted that a 
manual of religious services alone could scarcely draw 
disciples in the first instance, but would require also the ini- 


tial impulse either of some spoken word or of some book 
not prepared as a manual of services, it is equally true 
that such spoken word or such a book alone would be in- 
adequate. Indeed, even the preachers themselves of a 
new movement, however intimate their relation to its 
founder and their study of its autlumtative so^tuns, 
would need the "i^t^hhJ of services to ieep them to thdi 
moorings- At least, only the greatest mc^ and intellec- 
tual ^niuses will not drift unconsciously to other than their 
ori^nal foundations. The minds of ordinaiy men are by 
nature no more fixed than floating islands. 

A manual of humanistic devotion could also be used ca 
occasitms where no ori^nal discourse was to be delivered, 
as at family devotions and at morning and evening chapel 
in schools and colleges. But it would be equally ad^ted 
to meetings where the central feature was a sermon. 

It must furthermore not be forgotten that, whatever the 
differences between services and sermons, the sermon 
itself, in proportion as it is really great, powerful, and of 
lasting value, partakes of the nature of a service. The 
two great differences between it and the other parts of the 
service are that it is the one item not fixed and determined 
beforehand, and also the one which does not lay any claim 
to being cast into a form of enduring value. 

However important preaching may be, the set forms 
may at least be held to be more independent of it than it 
of them. For they will always present the fundamental 
ideas and the deeper trend of the faith embodied in them, 
and will do so in literary form ; while one never oovSd 
be secure of the same effects from the preaching itself. 
The preacher's theme is left to his own selection ; it may 
be wide of the main issue, and will inevitably be dependent 
on the mental gifts of the particular man and on his 
momentary fitness. It is at any rate clear that from the 
start a manual of services must su^^ement preaching. 


It would be the primary instrument for insuring per- 
manence and consistency of propaganda. It alone could 
sustain and educate the nucleus of a new group of disciples 
and could steadily knit fresh recruits into an abiding and 
vital unity. 

A further reason why the use of a manual of services 
has not been appreciated by men of ethical and scientific 
faith as compared with preaching is that the set services 
familiar to us — those of the Anglican and Roman 
Churches — happen in our day to be far less ethical and 
rational, far more occult and doctrinal, than a good deal of 
present-day preaching. The preaching even in orthodox 
churches, being in great part dependent upon the judg- 
ment of the preacher, has been more expressive of the needs 
of the hour than have the church services. It is behind the 
times, but not, like the Episcopal Prayer Book, three him- 
dred years behind. It has somewhat reflected the trend 
of the age, which is increasingly ethical and naturalistic. 
We are therefore liable to fall into the error of imagining 
that somehow preaching is necessarily more ethical and 
progressive than a set service. But this conclusion pre- 
supposes on the one hand that the set Anglican and Roman 
forms are the only type possible. On tJie other hand, it 
implies that preaching is necessarily ethical. This is the 
point of view held by a recent writer, who has dted the low 
moral stage of the Church in Spain to-day, and attributes 
it to the fact that there the Church has neglected preaching 
and had recourse almost exclusively to ceremonial. But 
had the ritual to which it had recourse embodied the ideas 
of social democracy and naturalistic humanism, it would 
have lifted not only the reUgion, but the whole life of Spain 
out of the mire. On the other hand, what proof is there 
that Spanish priests, had they opened their mouths to 
preach in place of conducting formal services, would have 
inculcated the virtues of self-respect, intellectual honesty. 


democratic equality, and reverence £or the moral personality 
of women ? What reason is there to suppose that they 
would have presented the moral character instead of the 
supernatural functions of Jesus Christ ? It will be readily 
granted that in the historic Christian churches the 
preaching is to-day for the most part more ethical and 
scientific than the services. It is the service that now 
retards sincerity and freedom of intellectual and moral 
faith. These old forms are concretions of the super- 
naturalism and the metaphysical doctrines of remote ages, 
together with ancient ethical sentiments and human as- 
pirations. But it is inconceivable that any preaching could 
be more ethical and more in accord with the spirit of science 
and of democracy than formal services would be if expressly 
written or selected to embody the spirit of science and de- 

The fact that the Anglican and Roman services are not 
up to the ethical and intellectual standard of our day and 
fall morally and scientifically far below the preachbig of 
the most powerful living representatives of those churches, 
is one of the reasons which make it especially worth 
while to prepare a new manual of services. Bewildering 
is the contrast between the springs of conduct which 
preachers touch and the weaknesses and emotions upon 
which the sacrifice of the Mass plays. The spiritistic oc- 
cultism, the supematuralism, of this mysterious ceremony 
of the Real Presence often has no more relation to the fun- 
damental presuppositions of the sermon than the thoughts 
of a Caliban to the character of a Miranda. It is not the 
sensuous splendour of the form of the Mass that strikes one 
as barbaric, but its idea of a supernatural blood-atonement. 

In the Anglican Church there is often a similar prepos- 
terous incongruity between sermon and service. Fifty 
minutes to an hour are devoted to a prostrate crying out to 
a supernatural agency — at least, so the worshippers them- 

■ . ...■;* ■ j_iij;^ij' 



selves interpret the ritual — to save us; then one may 
hear for twenty-five minutes a most searching sermon 
teaching us to save one another, and thereby incidentally 
save ourselves. 

Let it be conceded, then, that the preaching of our day 
is comparatively not unethical or imsdentific; it is the 
forms that are chiefly at fault. This stricture applies 
as fully to the Evangelical churches as to the Roman and 
Episcopal communions, and as much to Quaker and 
Unitarian as to Presbyterian and Methodist practices. 
My impression as to the attitude of mind of Unitarian 
preachers towards the services which they are required or 
expected to conduct is that half of the preachers, except 
for their saving sense of humour and expectation of 
speedy revision, would be agonized in conscience by the 
compromise with supematuralism to which the traditional 
forms compel them to submit. 

If we consider the special case of the Anglican Church, 
we notice that only the Romanizing party have had the 
insight to see that living ideas must penetrate not only the 
sermon, but also the ritual. Accordingly they have done 
their utmost — even (in England) beyond the limits of 
legality — to embody their convictions in ceremonial form. 
In this they have proved themselves to be statesmen, psycho- 
logists, and historians, as well as religious enthusiasts. They 
know the practical power of symbolism in conveying an 
idea into the heart and will of the people. Superficial 
and blind by contrast is the attitude of the Broad Church 
and the Evangelical parties, who know no better means 
of checking the Romanizing tendency than by proving 
it illegal and preaching legality as the highest clerical duty. 
If they but knew it, the only eflScient way by which the 
Romanizing movement could be counteracted would be to 
legalize forms of service which should embody principles 
of democracy, science, and national idealism. Along these 

lines preaching is already permissible and is to be heard 
from Toany pulpits. But when <Hice ftHmal i 
gnious with such preaching are equally allowed, old-fash- 
ioned theologians will have something bigger and strtmger 
to fear than Rome. They will have the modon natko 
herself to cope with — a nation awake as a living diurdL 
Towards this end a manual of modernist services is xofxc 
urgently needed than a new outburst of puljat doqiunce. 
Tliose who have not long reflected tqxm the probkra 
here under discussion may think that somehow formal 
services are in the nature of the case further behind the 
times t^^^ " preaching. But t^ w wgwi" is a Tfiifftfikft. 
Indeed, it is the survival of the old forms which accounts 
for the fact that the preaching is not far more advanced 
than it is. Only the most daring and original preachers 
think beyond the forms. But at first, and for generations 
afterwards, these forms did not cramp. It is not of the 
essence of a formal service that it should have been perpetu- 
ated imchanged for centuries. It is, as I point out elsewhere, 
perfectly possible that there should be an organized body 
of the best intellects and most spiritually minded souls 
in the churches continuously at work upon the revi^on 
of services. And it would be possible that at stated inter- 
vals, a decade apart or less, the results of their labours should 
be submitted to the lawful authorities, and that those new 
forms which commended themselves should be sanctioned, 
and permission granted for their use side by side with old 
forms. There is nothing inherent in the nature of church 
services to occasion the retention of any obsolete ideas or 
rites. Just as the criminal laws and civil statutes of the 
nation not only require but may receive constant revision, 
so with church laws and statutes. Nowadays, under a 
democratic regime, it is inexcusable for any but embittered 
Anarchists to interpret all legislation as the tyrannical 
empire of past ages over the hving present. Sane persons 



see that it is our own fault if we have not cast off the 
dictation of the dead and have not formulated the social 
conscience of our own day. In similar manner, before long, 
all except blind haters of social discipline of every kind 
will enthusiastically help to revivify the churches by 
revising and reinterpreting their rites and forms. 

5. Ethics and Ceremonial 

Until quite recent years nearly all persons who had dis- 
carded the old forms, on account of the error in them, were 
prone to be chary of all common devotion. They cried out, 
"The world needs no kind of an ecclesiastical religion 
with priests and prayers and holy books. It needs a reli- 
gion of justice. In the new religion nothing will count 
but clear thoughts and honest deeds." They did not realize 
that if this attitude were adopted, religion in the old sense 
would cease to be. Politics, economics, art, science, and 
spontaneous morality would take its place. But here, 
again, we detect the vitiating blunder of the old indi- 
vidualism to which I have already referred. As if a man 
by himself alone — nay, rather in defiance of organized 
attempts at spiritual discipline — could attain to clear 
thoughts and honest deeds ! 

Now, the older prophets, despite their trust in personal 
agencies outside of human society, were well aware that 
only by the systematic concentration of a nation's attention 
upon righteousness could a people ever reach honesty and 
the clear vision. The whole apparatus of Judaism and 
Christianity was instituted and perpetuated for the attain- 
ment of justice, by creating in the minds of the people 
a love of justice. The old worship, with its priests and 
prayers and holy books, was in ultimate aim a religion of 
justice. Its end was right. Its means unhappily were 
pre-sdentific, but they were, however falsely interpreted, 


natural and human. If by "ecclesiastical religion" is 
meant a looking to supernatural persons for help, let us 
away with it. If prayer be but a petition to superhuman 
agencies, we have had enough of it. If books cannot be 
holy unless they teach submission to invisible and incor- 
poreal beings, then without doubt the world needs no 
such things. But unassuming teachers and preachers of 
human ideals, confessedly fallible but well disciplined in 
the method and spirit of scientific test and search, are 
needed by the world more than ever. And a systematic 
turning for help to human and natural sources of redemp- 
tion is indispensable. So, too, holy books are required, if 
holiness means, as it always has meant, not pandering to 
selfishness, vanity, or lust, but on the contrary ministering 
to the spirit of self-sacrifice for great human ends. 

Among nineteenth-century prophets no one was more 
alive than Emerson to the fact that religion is turning 
away from the subtleties of scholasticism to morals, and 
that this change is altogether an advance. He was su- 
premely the apostle of clear thoi^ts and honest deeds. 
But his mother-wit prevented him from falling into the 
error of thinking that these could be attained without 
the natural means of regular religious practices in common. 
The passage in his essay on "Worship" in which he pro- 
phesies that " there will be a new church, founded on moral 
science," is often quoted in witness of his prophetic instinct 
But the special evidence of genius in this passage is not 
hissaying that anethical church will come, but his recognition 
that it will of necesaty begin, as he characteristically puts 
it, "at first cold and naked, a babe in a manger again, the 
algebra and mathematics of ethical law"; at fiist "with- 
out shawms or psaltery or sackbut." Emerson, although 
he recognized the necessity of it, saw no virtue or pennar 
nence in this initial state of nakedness. The new church, he 
went on to add, "will have heaven and earth for its beams 



and rafters, science for symbol and illustration." He 
accordingly foretold that it woxild **fast enough gather 
beauty, music, picture, poetry." Still more directly in 
his essay on "The Sovereignty of Ethics" does he give his 
sanction to a church that will educate and discipline men 
into clear thoughts and honest deeds; but with greater 
emphasis also does he insist upon the necessity of rites and 

"It accuses us," he says, "that pure ethics is not now 
formulated and concreted into a cultus, a fraternity, with 
assemblings and holydays, with song and book, with 
brick and stone. Why have not those," he asks, "who 
believe in it and love it, left all for it, and dedicated them- 
selves to write out its scientific scriptures, to become its 
vulgate for millions ? " 

But even Emerson, as can be seen in these passages, suf- 
fered perhaps imder the limitations of his age. He speaks of 
a new church, as if a new organization was to be foimded 
and as if the old churches would not transform themselves. 
Now, it must be granted that the old did not base themselves 
upon moral science, because science had not yet come. 
But science having now arrived, the notion is inconceivable 
that the old churches should continue resting on a founda- 
tion of trust in supernatural sources of redemption. Surely 
the old churches will refoimd themselves, and this time on a 
scientific basis — on science himiane and therefore moral. 
But in so doing, the churches will discard only so much of 
their accumulated beauty, music, picture, and poetry as is 
positively an affront to the truth which we modem men 
behold. It is a fact that pure ethics has not yet concreted 
itself ; but impure ethics — ethics transfused with a certain 
amoimt of trust in supernatural agencies — has long since 
done so. The organizations which have achieved this work, 
there is every reason to hope, will themselves, thanks to 
the prevalence of the scientific spirit, now drive out super- 



naturalism — which after all was never the real treasure 
of the Church. They will remove the dross for the sake 
of their own pure gold. At least in America the churches 
are still ahve ; their members have, moreover, been per- 
meated with the new hopes and ideals. The churches 
surdy then will know how to continue to keq> d£ve and 
to grow into the CHiuich of Men to Come. 

Sir John Seeley saw as perfectly as Emeracm tliat refi- 
gion is moving steadily away from scholastic nibtletia 
to the science of ethics ; and that a church with assanblings 
and holydays, with song and book, with bri(^ and stone, 
is an indispensable accessory to Tm . iJnTm .1 character. Bat, 
unlike that of Emerson, Seeley'a historic sense was dis- 
ciplined and strengthened by systematic scholarship. He 
therefore would hear nothing of a new church organization, 
but only of the old churches renewed. All that Emerson 
deplored in the teaching and practices of the dominant 
religious institutions Seeley equally lamented. But the 
defects of the churches are not their essence. The organi- 
zation has lived in spite of defects, at least in spite of their 
perpetuation. Those who love the old institutions most, 
and who are most ready to sacrifice all for them, shall be 
brought to distinguish what is vital in them from what is 
extraneous and may prove fatal. 

6. The Revision of Church Services 

During the last half century religious controversy has 
raged around the Bible. During the next half century 
the storm-centre will be a. new manual of church services. 

In the sixteenth century there began in Christendom the 
evolution of two new ideas, the idea of science and the idea 
of democracy. These ideas have now developed into full 
self-consciousness and definite outline. A point of view 
has come into existence from which the Bible itself is bdng 


interpreted differently. We now understand the Bible 
not to mean what those imagined it to mean who recon- 
structed its substance in the formularies of the Protestant 
churches. It is therefore possible for us to-day to embody 
in new or in revised national manuals of religious rites and 
ceremonies the teaching and spirit of the Bible as we now 
interpret it. Such manuals would preserve to us the re- 
ligious treasure of the past ; but they would also communi- 
cate to the people the new method and spirit of science, 
and the new outlook, strength, and self-reliance of social 

7. Science unifies Men 

At the outset, one cannot but lament the conflict that 
has prevailed between believers in science and the upholders 
of religion. Hitherto the whole tendency of the scientific 
method and spirit, so far as it has touched the religious con- 
sciousness at all, has been centrifugal and disintegrating. 
It has divided and isolated men. It has driven them from 
churches, but has not drawn them to any new centre of 
spiritual life. Science has become wedded to commer- 
cialism on one side, and on another is running into theo- 
sophic freak. For four centuries the right of private judg- 
ment has tended to this splitting up of churches, imtil 
now among the foremost of the scientific world every in- 
dividual man has become a church imto himself. What is 
needed is a scientific instrument of religious cohesion. 
That such an instrument can be found is the more likely 
because, despite all appearances to the contrary, science 
both by its method and spirit ultimately tends to imity. 
What is science, but the dropping out as imverified of what 
cannot be demonstrated to every rational being to be 
true ? And what has taken place in the domain of each 
special science, except a unification of thought and an agree- 
ment and consolidation of men ? The whole evolution of 


sdence is from a variety of opinions to a common judg- 
ment. Every year, every month, disputed points are 
settled and intdlectual harmony is established. It is only 
in reference to religion, the one domain of human interest 
which has not yet come imder the scientific qurit and 
method, that scientific men still differ one with another, 
althou^ they all agree in rejecting the intellectual tradi- 
tion of past ages as it is manifested in the churches. If 
once the rites and ceremonies of public worship coiild be 
so transformed as no longer to violate the fundamental 
methods and spirit of science, is it quixotic to hope, as I 
do, that the whole nation would soon be drawn into one 
religious fellowship ? Would not the most powerful engine 
for bringing about such a revolution in public worship be a 
manual — democratic and scientific — of church services? 

Science, I have said, has thus far been centrifugal in 
tendency ; but in the fulness of time it will be centripetal. 
It has destroyed religious traditions; but all the appli- 
cations of its methods to chemistry, to physics, to botany 
and biology show its truest work to be constructive and 
S)aithetic. The old-fashioned notion still widely prevails 
that if people are allowed to think for themselves in reli- 
gion, each will go his own and therefore a different way. 
But if people really think for themselves, they will learn to 
think according to the method and spirit of science ; and 
the result will be that in each going his own way they will 
all go the same way. 

The cleavage which now exists between science and reli- 
gion, moreover, is not identical with that between church 
members and those who on intellectual grounds have been 
compelled to withdraw from church membership. Inti- 
mate acquaintance with present-day religious thought and 
scientific education exposes to view the fact that thousands 
of preachers and members of churches have been as much 
touched by the spirit of science as those persons have who 


have broken away from religious organization or who were 
bom and have been reared in circles wholly out of sympathy 
with religious traditions. Scientific minds within the 
churches, however, have imtil now remained quiet and 
passive. In church conferences and services they do not 
demand any expression of the new ideas which they have 
adopted. They carry on no active propaganda of science 
in the domain of religion. The result is that at present 
vdthin the churches old-fashioned notions seem to bear 
completer sway than is actually the case. They still 
dominate the set forms and phrases ; but, notwithstanding, 
the new notions are alive and strong in pulpit and pew. A 
crisis at any moment may precipitate them into definite 
expression. Any day these modem men within the 
churches may speak out the new faith that is in them. 
They have remained within and kept quiet, because in the 
interest of religion and the nation they were waiting for 
the right opportunity. They have seen that there is a 
time to keep silent and they have respected its claim ; but 
only because they have been sure that their time to speak 
would come. These men of science have remained within 
because they shrank back in bewilderment and alarm from 
the moral isolation which severance would entail. They 
have had a deep sense of the ethical benefits of spiritual 
fellowship. They have believed, and not wrongly, that 
spiritual isolation tends to engender, even when it does not 
always produce, laxity of life. In terror at the isolation 
which seemed to await them if they were to follow truth 
whithersoever it might lead, they have apparently drawn 
back the deeper into the twilight of the old faith. They 
have climg to what had so long stood fast rather than jdeld 
themselves up to a stream which seemed but to flow into a 
sea of negation. It appeared to them that if they should 
be forced to decide on the instant, they must make a choice 
between truth and righteousness ; and they have not been 


ashamed temporarily to prefer concrete righteousness to 
abstract truth, abiding the time when these would cease to 
be in practical antagonism. 

8. Outside tfie Churches 

Of the two classes of persons — those who break with 
all religious association on account of new ideas and those 
who, although adopting them, remain quietly within the 
churches — it is quite possible that the latter class have 
chosen the wiser course and have manifested the deeper 
ethical insight. They have seen that science, while it has 
meant knowledge, accurate, systematic, and verified, has 
not yet meant wisdom ; and they have preferred wisdom 
unscientific to science unwise. But were science now to 
become wise and stoop to the service of those very ends to 
which religion has always ministered, these seemingly more 
timid natures within the churches would forthwith declare 
themselves disciples of science. But only a scientific trans- 
formation of the rites and language of the churches will 
demonstrate to the devout and to the masses that scienfx 
has at last been allowed or compelled to enter into the 
service of moral idealism. For the sake of the churches 
the leaders of scientific thought and of critical philosophy 
must become the reorganizers of religious forms. The 
psychologists and sociologists of religion must not only 
furnish a restatement of the creeds, but embody the new 
view of the universe and of man in rites and ceremonies. 
The first result would be a return of the intellectuals and of 
the masses of the nation into the churches. 

9. The Warring Sects 

Comparatively happy would the religious state of America 

be to-day if the only breaches in her life were those between 

^he scientific and the unscientific. But equally great and 


deplorable are the chasms which separate and divide 
among themselves sects and groups vdthin sects which 
have been wholly imtouched by the doctrine of evolution 
and the philosophical criticism of our day. We need 
some instrument of cohesive power to bring together 
Evangelicals and High Churchmen, Unitarians, Baptists, 
Calvinists, and Methodists, who are separated not by 
science against dogma, but by dogma against dogma. 
The same reasons, however, which make me believe that 
modernist forms of public worship would heal the breach 
between science and Christianity compel me to hope that 
they would exercise a similar influence amidst the war- 
ring sects. 

There have been many attempts to effect a union among 
the Christian bodies by means of a compromise. It has 
been thought that all the sects will imite if only they can 
be induced to drop points of difference and cling to points 
of conscious agreement. But every such attempt has 
proved futile. It has led to a colourless and impotent 
undenominationalism, which perhaps produces an armed 
truce, but settles no differences and assuages no antago- 
nisms. Undenominationalism is an abstraction which will 
only pass muster as a religion in the interregnirai be- 
tween two great national ideals. So long as all the theo- 
logical sects believe in supematuralism, for each sect not 
to dare to point to the special supernatural agencies it 
believes in nor to its own particular means of conciliating 
its invisible deities, for fear of awakening sectarian bitter- 
ness, is to cry halt just when the nation needs to march 
on. No ! Nothing but a new instrument which will 
render vivid, concrete, and beautiful the new synthesis 
of social democracy, science, and Christianity can imify 
Christians among themselves. The new bond will, 
therefore, be an idea which is as yet wholly outside the 
consciousness of the majority of orthodox Christians and 


is directly in antagonism to the supematuralism of the 
churches. It is true that the oew idea has not yet begun to 
win the extremely orthodox believers in Christianity, nor 
has it begun to transform and vivify even the centres of 
religious radicalism. But it must be remembered that 
the new synthesis has never yet been concreted into a 
cultus. Such a concretion is exactly what I am pleading 
for when I urge a revision of religious rites and ceremonies. 

Lest the force of my argument be lost by not appreciating 
how such a resision is to be achieved, it must be borne in 
mind how other reforms have been brought to ultimate tri- 
umph. Judging from analogous cases, I have given it as my 
opinion that various individual persons must drst, as I am do- 
ing in this volume, offer tentative suggestions as to reviaon. 
These should be applied and made the basis of new forms. 
At the same time, since rites and ceremonies can only be 
tested by being actually practised, religious meetings of 
those sympathizing with such attempts should be held, 
in which the new forms were used as the order of servira. 
By trials of this kind, in proportion as the services fulfilled 
their object, other assemblies would adopt them. 

Such experiments have now been made for more than 
twenty years at the Ethical Church in London, England. 
The results were published and thus made accessible to 
the public in the summer of 1913 in two large quarto 
volumes entitled "Social Worship," issued by George 
Allen in London and the Macmillan Company in New 
York. Volume I contains the Introductory and Dismis- 
sory sentences, the Meditations, the Lessons from universal 
literature, the Invitations to Church Membership and the 
Special Services for the religious Dedication of Children, 
the Receiving of New Members, for Marriage, and for 
Burial. Volume II contains the words and mu^c of the 
Canticles, Hymns, and Responsive Services and the words 
with bibliography) of the Anthems. All these items have 


been selected as expressive of the living conscience of the 
modem world. Some of them refer exclusively to England, 
but others are derived from American literature ; the great 
majority, however, are expressive of the imiversal spirit 
and vision of our day in every nation of the world. These 
two volumes of " Social Worship," being in the main but a 
collected anthology from the greatest writers of modem 
times and the masters of thought and expression in all 
ages in so far as they represent the point of view of himian- 
istic idealism, science, and democracy, must be an approxi- 
mately adequate embodiment in literature of the Soul of 
America. They are offered to the public, however, only as 
a tentative and first contribution. They have sprung 
from the same effort and the same sense of need which have 
produced Professor Rauschenbusch's volume of prayers 
entitled "God and the People,'' and Professor Patten's 
"Social H)ntnns" and the collection, under the same name, 
which appeared in The Survey of January 3, 1914. 

ID. The East 

I have said that the outcome of our task might prove a 
benefit even beyond the borders of Christendom. We 
are to-day face to face with new religious problems arising 
from the contact, now for the first time, of China and Japan 
on equal terms with the civilization of the West. China 
and Japan are already losing their belief in invisible and 
incorporeal agencies as the source of human weal and woe. 
Their intellectual classes are discarding the naive spiritism 
involved, if not expressly declared, in the old cults, and 
are reinterpreting their ancestor-worship in terms of social 
idealism and of the historic unity and solidarity of their 

Some merriment was awakened a few years ago through- 
out the Westem nations by a report that Japan, not many 


y«an beftHe, had seait representatives to the West in search 
al a rdigioQ which would be to the ben^t oS Japan and 
suitable to adopt as the State rdigion. If the Japanese 
did take such a step, it fuinishes only oiu more pmai d 
their cmsummate statesmanship and originiUity. Then 
is not a nation of the Western world but as a natkBi is 
alarmed at the decay of the old Western faiths and puzzled 
and bewildered how to keep up the moral idealism of the 
people, now that the old dogmas and forms have lost their 
hold of the popular imagination. Further, vrbax the rda- 
ti(Hi of religion to national idealism is fully cotiq>rdbended, 
it will be seen that there is nothing grotesque in an attenq>t 
to find a religion for a nation. Such an attempt means an 
effort to bring into definite outline and shape, and to or- 
ganize systematically, what had hitherto been the inarti- 
culate and undirected idealism of the nation. When it is 
thus realized that, after all, a religion at its best and fullest 
is nothing else than the nation's idealism organized into 
a system of moral education, it will be seen that not once 
but always should a nation be on the lookout for improve- 
ments in its religious methods and principles. 

That Japan found no religious system of the West suit- 
able for her needs is again a proof of her penetration and 
discrimination. Is it, however, foolish to believe that if in 
America since her War of Independence all religious bodies 
had been revising, readapting, and perfecting their religious 
institutions and teachings, so as to bring them every 
decade abreast of America's own need, Japan would have 
found in the United States such a manual of religious wor- 
ship, ceremonial and dogma as with very slight readaptation 
would have ministered to her newly awakened conscious- 
ness? Japan found for herself in the West a science of 
chemistry and chemical laboratories; she found methods 
of manufacture and agriciUture ; she adopted systems of 
sanitation and medicine. Had our reli^on of the West 


been as up to date as our science, those Japanese repre- 
sentatives who went in search of a religion would not have 
returned to the East empty-handed. 

Few have realized that Christianity entered upon a new 
era the moment Japan conquered her Russian assailants. 
That moment, for the first time in fifteen hxmdred years, 
Christianity stood again face to face in intimate relation- 
ship of equality with pagan ideas and principles, and in 
full consciousness of the fact of that equality. Japan not 
only gained a material victory, but won the moral admira- 
tion of the world. And now China has done likewise by an 
internal revolution towards science and social democracy. 
Historians have noted that so long as Christianity in the 
early ages was in intimate and reciprocal contact with 
heathen culture, she was constantly deriving from it as 
many benefits as she gave. They have pointed out that 
after she had once conquered the whole range of civilization 
and was no longer confronted with conflicting principles 
and ideals of religion, she lost those benefits which always 
come of comparison and contrast. Without fear of chal- 
lenge, she could assert and impress upon the minds of her 
ignorant subjects the notion that she possessed a monopoly 
of divine wisdom. Now again after fifteen hundred years 
the people of Christendom will be forced to compete, as 
it were, in the open market of the world for the acceptance 
of her reUgious wares. 



I. By Effort 

It must be borne in mind that modernist modes of devo- 
tional service wilt never come of themselves. They will 
not be hit upon by happy accident. And without a mighty 
struggle on their behalf they will never be introduced 
either into the historic or into new religious organizations. 
Even in the latter there will for a long time be a strong 
party opposing outward forms of any kind. It may be, as 
Emerson says, that 

The litanies of nations came, 
Like the volcano's tongue of flame. 
Up from the burning core below — 
The canticles of love and woe. 

It certainly is true, as he says, that 

Out from the heart of nature rolled 
The burdens of the Bible old. 

But false would be the inference that because the litanies 
come naturally out of human love and woe they therefore 
come without effort, purpose, and plan. If the volcano's 
tongue of flame does not issue by design, it is in so far not 
like the litanies of nations in its energizing force. 

The belief prevails that litanies spring out unintended 
from unconscious impulses. And when persons under- 
take to-day, by effort and with beneffcence prepense, to 
make or remake litanies suited to the new needs, they 


are met with the scornful rebuke that religions cannot be 
manufactured — that they are not made, but grow. 

There is no doubt in my own mind that the progress 
of reUgion into a democratic and scientific scheme of moral 
regeneration has been retarded for ages by the notion, 
never allowed by priests to die, that religious forms and 
ceremonies cannot be invented and manufactured. This 
notion, kept aUve by conservative interests, and sincerely 
believed because accepted without question by the multi- 
tude, is doomed soon to be exploded. For the fact is 
writ large on every page of Church history, and in the 
narrative of all great religions, and needs only to be known : 
that so long as religions have been alive and growing, the 
vital force which produced their teachings and practices 
has been the conscious effort of bold, patriotic statesmen. 
These saw that ethics, whether pure or impure, — ethics 
somehow, the best they could have, — must forthwith be 
concreted into the most attractive, vivid, and inspiring 
cultus they were able to devise. Churches have always 
and everywhere manufactured their ritual. 

Nevertheless, it is true that the ritual is a natural growth. 
Hiunan manufactures always grow. Unless one is ad- 
mitted into the secret of the psychic forces that create 
them, they bear all the marks of spontaneous, impremedi- 
tated development. Religious statesmen construct them 
as inevitably (although designedly) as the wood-bird weaves 
her nest 

Of leaves and feathers from her breast ; 

or as 

or as 

the fish outbuilds her shell, 
Pamting with mom each annual ceU ; 

the sacred pine-tree adds 
To her old leaves new myriads. 


It 18 hazardous to a£Snn that bird and fish and tree quite 
qx>ntaneously and unconsciously construct their tenq)les 
for body and home. The finest and closest observers of 
animal and plant life are more and more hesitating to 
believe so. There is no proof of unconsciousness or effort- 
lessness. Both in the case of plant and animal it is an 
unfounded assumption to deny even effort. And as 
regards all beautiful forms of religion^ what we do know 
of them from intimate and universal experience and direct 
observation is this : that they have come first by the effort 
of patriots ; then they may have continued spontaneously, 
and probably only at last survived unconsciously. We 
know further that the unconscious production of beautiful 
things is no more worthy nor admirable than activity which 
is all tingling with conscious design. It is also a perversion 
of judgment, due to conservative self-interest, to cast dis- 
credit upon laborious effort as compared with spontaneity, 
whether conscious or imconscious. Only let the results 
of agonizing enterprise be compared in their beauty and 
utility with products of effortless impulse, and not pre- 
judged adversely because they have cost self-control, sacri- 
fice, and the concentration of intelligent will. 

2. Emerson on Adaptation 

It has not been to the interest of the oflicial priests of 
churches to acknowledge that forms and ceremonies, litur- 
gies and the Bible grew by a process of revision. Accord- 
ingly, they did not see this process, and they honestly 
fancied that the products of ceremonial art sprang quite 
otherwise into existence. But any one not biassed knows 
that the same process is exemplified in the reUgious forms 
of every nation. Nowhere is it more fully exemplified than 
in the origin and development of the EngUsh Bible and the 
Book of Common Prayer. Admirably has Emerson pre- 


sented the facts and appreciated them in this passage from 
his essay on Shakespeare : — 

It is easy to see that what is best written or done by genius 
in the world was no one man's work, but came by wide social 
labour, when a thousand wrought like one, sharing the same im- 
pulse. Our English Bible is a wonderful specimen of the 
strength and music of the English language. But it was not 
made by one man, or at one time ; but centuries and churches 
brought it to perfection. There never was a time when there 
was not some translation existing. The liturgy, admirable for 
its energy and pathos, is an anthology of the piety of ages and 
nations, a translation of the prayers and forms of the Catholic 
Church — these collected, too, in long periods, from the prayers 
and meditations of every saint and sacred writer all over the 
world. Grotius makes the like remark in respect to the Lord's 
Prayer, that the single clauses of which it is composed were 
already in use in the time of Christ, in the Rabbinical forms. 
He picked out the grains of gold. 

But there is a still more pertinent hint in this same 
essay of Emerson's, to encourage and embolden to revision 
those who feel that during the last two centuries and a half 
the people of Christendom have been denied the right to 
breathe the breath of their new life into their church services 
and to let that new life reshape, as it must, forms which 
are inadequate. '* Shakespeare," says Emerson, "in com- 
mon with his comrades, esteemed the mass of old plays 
waste stock, in which any experiment could be freely tried. 
Had the prestige which hedges about a modem tragedy 
existed, nothing could have been done." I know the retort 
will be made that this was all very well for Shakespeare 
and his immortal comrades, but that imtil a man has 
demonstrated that he is the peer of Shakespeare he has 
no right to Jfty his xmconsecrated hand upon the sacred 
Uterary heritage of the past. But note that Emerson 
insists that even Shakespeare, for all his greatness, could 


have done nothing had the prestige which hedges about a 
modern tragedy prevented his esteeming the mass of old 
plays waste stock. If Emerson be right, Shakespeare's 
greatness itself, or at least the world's possession of his 
greatness, was due to the liberty taken by him of experi- 
menting freely with the hterature he found at hand. 

Once let the devout world be converted to the dig^ty 
and necessity of human effort in the writing of Bibles and 
in the formulation of religious cults, and in a century idi- 
l^n will make more progress in beauty, reasonableness, 
and humanly than it has done in two thousand yeais. 
He notion that sacred scriptures emanate from super- 
natural agencies and that rites are enjcuned by inviable 
intelligences has generally paralyzed by suggestion the 
efforts of religious reformers. These have waited for that 
to be done by superhuman persons which they ought 
to have undertaken forthwith. But luckily this erroneous 
notion is losing hold of intelligent minds. 

With the shifting of trust from supernatural to human 
agencies, we abandon the idea that independently of us 
the universe has a purpose which we are to serve. But 
the notion that we therefore abandon all behef in rational 
cosmic purpose and fall back upon blind evolution is as 
crude as it is dangerous to the higher interests of humanity. 
In abandoning superhuman personal agendes we do not 
fall back upon subhuman and impersonal or even merely 
human forces. No human will is merely human will; 
it is also natural, just as all nature is subject to the forms 
and laws of the human mind. Instead, we replace the 
idea of extra-himian cosmic purpose by that of human 
cosmic purpose — humanity being the crown of the cosmos. 
Combined human fore^ght — the general will of organized 
society — assiunes the rdle of creative providence. 

Consistent with this new conception of the Church 
and of human design as a factor in religioTis evolution is 


it that we should appropriate and adapt the materials 
furnished us by the rites and ceremonies of the historic 
churches. We who love the old organizations and are true 
to their spirit are rightful masters of their letter. As the 
wood-bird, bent on building her nest, in lieu of better 
materials, makes it of leaves and of feathers from her breast, 
so may we use what is familiar, old, and close at hand. It 
is all ours, and the homeUke beauty of the Church of the 
future will be enhanced by the ancient materials wrought 
into its new forms. 

3. The Right to adapt Creeds and Hymns 

The right to appropriate and modify materials at hand 
to serve new needs has only been exercised in the few 
and short periods of creative work in Church organization 
— those who effected the changes believing themselves to 
be guided by some supernatural agency. By such men 
at such times no forms or symbols were counted too holy 
to be touched. There is little doubt that out of the Creed 
of Irenaeus (a.d. 170) was built up the Apostles' Creed, 
through the deliberate attempts of many. This in turn 
was worked over into the Nicene Creed, to meet the new 
attacks of heretics by rendering explicit various points 
of Church doctrine. The Apostles' and the Nicene Creeds 
must have been held in execration as an impardonable 
parody by those who on principle opposed all tampering 
with authorized documents. The Nicene Creed itself 
soon becoming inadequate as an instrument of Church 
defence, the Athanasian Creed was constructed out of two 
existing formulae as to the nature of God and of Christ. 

In the case of these creeds, there was no deviation in 
the new statements from the old meanings — only a bring- 
ing out of what was implicit and imderstood, or the addi- 
tion of new materials to buttress the old. Yet the right 


to aiq>r(^riate and modify has not been confined to cases 
where tbt old idea was preserved. Hie early Christians 
put quite different meanings into the words ''Messiah" 
and "the Kingdom of Heaven/' as into the use of one day 
of rest in seven and into the P^issover Suiq)er. They did 
not stop short of appropriating anything that would serve 
their cause. 

It is not only creeds that have been reshaped and bent 
to serve new needs ; the same has been done with prayers 
and hymns. It is sometimes supposed that these latter, 
being lyric and emotional, have spontaneously ^rung 
into existence, and, being living organisms rather than 
mechanical structures, cannot be modified without lacera- 
tion. But such a distinction of creeds, as compared with 
prayers and hymns, is wholly without foimdation in fact. 
The most subtle and metaphysical of all the creeds, the 
Athanasian, is itself a superb psalm, and as such is used 
by the Church. It is a living organism, but we must 
remember that in matters spiritual the life-force is often 
conscious effort and intelligent design. As to hymns, 
whoever is intimately acquainted with the evolution of 
anthologies is perfectly aware that the lyrics undergo 
modification the moment the intellectual soil and environ- 
ing atmosphere have changed. What is more to the point, 
the most sweetly lyrical of all Christian hynms, those of 
John and Charles Wesley, foimd their origin in a systematic 
intellectual scheme. The Wesleys wished to embody their 
peculiar theological doctrines in a form which should 
become familiar to the masses. The hynm was the one 
possible popular vehicle. Accordingly, the whole of the 
Methodist scheme of salvation was poured into melodious 
rhyme. As regards the spontaneous perfection, and there- 
fore inviolability, of prayers, it must not be forgotten that 
a number of those in the Book of Common Prayer are 


Church literature cannot and must not be the product 
of individual and isolated minds. It still must be, as it 
always has been, the work of a continuous group of or- 
ganizers and worshippers thinking and feeling together 
like one mind and embodying their common sentiment 
in fitting formulae. One person preeminent in logical 
clearness throws out the new idea; another soul gifted 
with song breathes into it the breath of life. By use the 
substance becomes strengthened and compacted. Church 
literature has thus the characteristics of folk-lore. 

A redeeming drciunstance in such appropriation, as 
compared with the seizing of material wealth, is that the 
old still survives intact imder the former ownership, after 
it has been taken and adapted by innovators. The Jewish 
use and meaning of the words "Messiah" and "the King- 
dom of Heaven," as of the institutions of the Sabbath 
and the Passover, were not extinguished, but were com- 
pelled to compete henceforth with what the Jews would 
have called parodies. 

There was a similar seizure by the early Christians 
of pagan materials — festivals and phrases, as well as 

At the Reformation, likewise, when the Church of 
England was organizing herself as an independent body, 
she took every form and phrase she wanted, modifying 
language and rite by omissions and additions and by the 
introduction of fresh ideas and meanings, according to the 
living sentiments of the hour. "In the Mass," says an 
historian of the Book of Common Prayer, "the order and 
contents of the Sarum service were adhered to, but stress 
was laid upon the commimion of the people, by the in- 
corporation of the 'Order of Commimion,' and the Canon 
was practically rewritten, expressions being omitted which 
would be thought to coimtenance the doctrine of a repe- 
tition of the sacrifice of the Cross, and the then preva- 


lent form of the doctrine of Transubstantiation. 

The direct invocation of saints and expressions connected 
with the mediaeval doctrine of the state of the departed 
also disappeared." 

Only in these great creative periods of national religious 
life have existing materials been intentionally transfused 
with new meanings and reshaped. In periods of timid 
conformity thinkers have seen what needed doing, but 
have not dared, or have not cared, to do it. At most, 
some one has prophesied that another would come, who, 
being bolder, would do, instead of announcing, what ought 
to be done. 

4. An Angliean's Plea for Revision 

All persons likely to be interested in the revision of 
church services might for our purpose be conveniently 
divided into two classes, as the obstacles to revision be- 
setting each of these are quite different : preachers and 
literary laymen. 

Such is the peculiar position of the body of ministers in 
any denomination that it cannot well concave any one's 
beginning the work of readapting services to the future 
needs of the nation until the authorities of any denomination 
have moved in the matter and authorized and appointed 
a committee of men to undertake the task. 

There can be no doubt that thousands of ministers 
deplore their bondage to tradition. But those who th\is 
regret their bondage can do nothing more specific than ex- 
press their regret; and this they are continually, but in- 
effectually, doing. Typical of these e]q)ressions by the 
Anglican clergy are the letters which appeared some time 
since in the I^ndon Spectator. One contains the following 
passage : — 

How different would have been the history of the Christian 
Church in England if the compilers of the nation's Book of 


Common Prayer had definitely fixed some date, such as the 
first year of every century, for its revision ! They made no 
secret of the fact that their work would periodically need to be 
brought up to date. Were they not themselves revising vene- 
rated liturgies, handed down to them, in order that they might 
be better adapted to the knowledge and the needs of the people 
of England in their own day ? Would not the argiunents which 
they used in their Preface to convince gainsayers be equally 
applicable to future generations? They both knew and fore- 
knew the hold of customary forms and phrases over men's 
minds. They had seen and must have foreseen the danger 
"lest one good custom should corrupt the world.'' . . . Who 
can doubt that as godly a body of men of piety and learning 
will be found for the task to-day as at any period of the Church's 
history ? Even Church doctrine, which is spoken of sometimes 
as if it were a petrified tradition, means neither more nor less 
than the teaching of the living Church of the day, as expressed 
in authorized formularies by the help of the living Spirit. Such 
formularies must be kept in constant refreshing touch with the 
heart and mind of the nation if the national Church is to be 
worthy of its name, and not decline and fall into a mere denomina- 
tion among denominations. The sense in which the compilers 
of our Prayer Book meant Church doctrine to be "distinctive" 
— a much abused word, surely — was chiefly, if I mistake not, 
in its simple, broad, and therefore comprehensive character. It 
was their ambition that all Christian people should be able to 
use the services supplied with comfort and profit, whether their 
family tradition and personal leaning inclined them to Rome or 
to Geneva. 

How pathetically handicapped must be the man who 
would attribute the inactivity of the Church of England 
since 1662 in this work of revision to the mere negative 
fact that the compilers omitted to fix a definite date, such 
as the first year of every century, for revision ! That 
omission surely can be no cause for the apathy and stolid 
conservatism of the Church. And what good would a 
fixed date, once in a century, for revision be if during the 


ten decades preceding there had not been the liberty given 
to each of the bishops, if not to the rector of every chiirch. 
to compose and use, besides the authorized forms, others, 
according to his own genius and the seeming requirements 
of those to whom he ministered ? A revision that could 
not be tested by actual expierience in common worship, 
although it were the work of a great poetic prophet, might 
fail absolutely. Forms for actual use in church, like plays 
for actual performance upon the stage, presuppose on the 
part of those who devise them intimate acquaintance with 
the stage management and the actual performance, so to 
speak, of the ritual, I will not say but that it would be 
better than the present inactivity if after every hundred 
years there should be five of hurried effort to improve 
the rites of the Church. But the very spirit which would 
promote such periodical revisions would be sure to sanction 
continuous tentative work by recognized authorities in the 

If such privileges were conferred upon the bishops of the 
Church of England, what a stimulus would be brought 
to bear upon all the literary geniuses bom to England! 
As the Catholic Church called into requisition the creative 
powers of architects, painters, and mu^dans, so all de- 
nominations should at last summon to their service the 
greatest lyric and dramatic poets. Suppose Shakespeare 
had been called as were Raphael and Michel Angelo. 
And if only Milton, or George Eliot, or Browning had been 
summoned to this task ! But to return to the painful facts. 
Nobody in the Church of England for more than two cen- 
turies has tried to construct any kind of a religious ritual. 

5. Lord Morley's Plea 

Even the belief in an inevitable upward evolution of 
human institutions cannot justify the notion that religious 


forms woiild adapt themselves without effort to the new 
demiands of science. Without a struggle for existence be- 
tween the old and the new, in the persons of the champions 
of each, how could the new gain a permanent foothold? 
But before there can be a struggle for existence, that which 
is to struggle must exist. And how could a new creed or 
litany or hymn or order of religious service enter into com- 
petition with the old, imless first some one had thought it 
out and written it down and published it and defied public 
opinion to the extent of using it at religious meetings of 
those who believed it better and truer than the old ? 

Fully illustrative of this attitude of waiting for some 
other to do what needs now to be done in liturgy is the follow- 
ing passage from Lord Morley's volume entitled " On Com- 
promise" (which, let me say, has not been without its 
influence as one of the causes of this book) : — 

The tendency of modem free-thought [said John Morley, 
writing in 1877] is more and more visibly towards the extrac- 
tion of the first and more permanent elements of the old faith, 
to make the purified material of the new. When Dr. Congreve 
met the famous epigram about Comte's system being Catholi- 
cism minus Christianity, by the reply that it is Catholicism plus 
Science, he gave an ingenious expression to the direction which 
is almost certainly taken by all who attempt, in however in- 
formal a manner, to construct for themselves some working 
system of faith, in place of the faith which science and criticism 
have sapped. In what ultimate form, acceptable to great mul- 
titudes of men, these attempts will at last issue, no one can now 
tell. For we, like the Hebrews of old, shall all have to live and 
die in faith, " not having received the promises, but having seen 
them afar off, and being persuaded of them, and embracing 
them, and confessing that we are strangers and pilgrims on the 
earth." Meanwhile, after the first great glow and passion of the 
just and necessary revolt of reason against superstition have 
slowly lost the exciting splendour of the dawn, and become 
(liffused in the colourless space of a rather bleak noonday, the 


mind gradually collects again some of the ideas of the old 
raUgkin of the West, uid TiUtag^, or even joyfolfy, mffea itKlf 
to be once more breathed vptm by aranetUng ol its wptA. 
Chrutiamty was the last great religious syntheib. It is the 
one nearest to us. Nothing Is mote natural than thmt tlioae 
wlio cannot rest content iridi intellectual uialyris, lAile smit- 
ing the advent of the St. Paul of the humanitarian bftfc of the 
future, should gather up [woviaionally sudi bagmcotaiy iDoi- 
ttations of this new faith as are to be found fai the reooida ol the 
old. Whatever form may be ultimately ioqxMed on our vagne 
idigious aqtirations by some picket to come, who ahaU unke 
sublime d^th d feeling and lofty purity of life with atiaag 
intellectual gra^ and the gift of a noble eloquence, we may at 
least be sure of this, that ft will stand as dosdy related to Chris- 
tianity as Christianity stood closely related to the old Jodaic 

By following the hint contained in Dr. Congreve's 
fonnula for Positivism, the religion advocated in this 
book might be described as Christianity plus Science plus 
Social Democracy. The task of one who would compile 
church services in harmony with such a formula would, 
if he had but the destructive and constructive imagination, 
be simple enough : to strike out of existing forms every- 
thing that offends against social democracy and against 
science, and to add all that is necessary in order to instruct 
and inspire the public mind with the spirit and method, 
the ideal and goal, of knowledge devoted to soda! service. 

But we dare not wait for the genius who is equal to the 
imaginative destruction and construction that are needed. 
We must prepare for his coming. The discoveries and 
inventions of the greatest minds always have foundation 
in the thousands of minor contributions, half-successes 
and experiments that failed, but taught avoidance of the 
same mistake. It is not only "natural," it is necessary, 
that we shoiild gather up the illustrations of the new faith 
to be fotmd in the old. In so doing, we are not simply 


beating time while awaiting the advent of the St. Paul 
of the humanitarian faith of the future; we are actually 
securing his coming and preventing its indefinite post- 

One would have thought that since Lord Morley pub- 
lished '' On Compromise " countless experiments along the 
line of concreting Dr. Congreve's formiila would have 
been made ; and that now we should have the resiilts to 
profit by. But nothing has been done, except what Dr. 
Congreve himself did ; and the general tone seems more 
timid than ever. 

It is probable also that Dr. Congreve's attempt at adapt- 
ing old forms to the new idea of faith in Hiunanity has 
injured rather than advanced his cause. He started from 
the wrong motive. He confesses his object in adaptation 
to be to make his own expression in its form continuous 
with the religious worship of the Christian churches. 
But this is a vitiating aim. The one object shoiild have 
been to make his own expression adequate to its own idea, 
and not to borrow simply because it is desirable to preserve 
an outward semblance of similarity. If there is to be 
borrowing, it must be wholly because the thing appro- 
priated is in itself the best possible material. If outward 
similarity, without being sought for, happens to be pre- 
served, well and good. But the slightest suspicion that 
the similarity is only outward and not due to inward 
identity is fatal. 

6. Ancient Forms were New Once I 

The general attitude towards the making of liturgies, 
even on the part of persons most in sympathy with hu- 
manistic religion, is well exemplified by one distinguished 
writer of our immediate present, who has published this 
curious betrayal of halting between two opinions: "A 


ritual/' he says, '^ cannot be invented; antiqiiity appears 
to be of the essence of its power — thou^, to be sure, 
rituab must have had a b^puming I — and, as experiment 
shows, it is difficult to take seriously any new attempt in 
this direction." If rituals had a b^puming, to the starters 
of them they must have been most powerfuL There was 
no antiquity hallowing the custom of those who in memory 
of Christ first broke bread and drank wine. And yet how 
thrilling, how overpowering, must have been this new 
experiment in ideal communion ! Antiquity is not of the 
essence of ritual. On the contrary, old rituals keep them- 
selves alive and quicken us in spite of their antiquity. 
And it is only because we lack courage and creative origi- 
nality of faith that we halt. Religion is monopolized 
to-day by vested interests, which spread it abroad against 
us if we attempt to bring up the form to the living faith. 
We are tasteless innovators, it is reported — vulgar non- 

"Though, to be sure, rituals must have had a begin- 
ning," yet imdoubtedly experiment shows that it is difficult 
to take seriously any new attempt in this direction. No- 
body that was anybody took seriously — at least, not 
for several centuries — that breaking of bread in memory 
of Jesus. Evidently it began in a circle so removed from 
the refinement and power of the worshippers of antiquity 
as never to have heard that the experiment was ludicrous. 
Beneficent crudity! Yet let us again forget the periods 
of timid conformity; let us again drink of the spirit of 
prophecy ; let us save what is worth saving in Christianity 
and the churches, by keeping everything that is consistent 
with science and true to the vision of social democracy 
jl and discarding the rest. 

' As I am devoted to the purpose and spirit of the Hebrew 

j prophets and Christian Apostles, and convinced that a 

transference of religious faith from superhuman to himian 



agencies does not touch the essential message of the Bible 
and the Church, I have dared to think of myself in pub- 
lishing this plea for revision as in a line of Church-reforming 
successors to Cranmer, the arch-appropriator and adapter 
of ancient forms to new meanings. I would fain hasten 
that Reformation of the Reformation which Milton 

I have said that if I do not believe in waiting for the 
St. Paid of the humanitarian faith, it is because I believe 
that we must prepare the work or he will never come. 
And I am not without hope that this volume may lead to 
experiments in revision and to original forms. The chief 
glory of each output of such successive efforts will be that 
it helps to bring forth that which will deserve to supersede 
it. I anticipate that men of the highest ability — poets 
lyric and dramatic, patriot-musicians like Wagner, states- 
men who are also orators and prophets, men of more than 
Renaissance versatility — will some day create a form of 
public worship which for music, eloquence, and action, for 
closeness to experience, depth of meaning, scope of vision, 
elevation of sentiment, and reach of purpose will transcend 
any art that the world as yet has known. 

The preparation must consist in creating a demand for 
church services which only great literary and religious 
geniuses can produce. We are apt to overlook the fact 
that men of original and constructive mind in any age 
bring forth works of art after whatever kind the public 
opinion of that age effectively demands. The Elizabethan 
era required simply the patching up of the Roman Catholic 
liturgies in the spirit of cautious compromise. No wonder, 
then, that the poets, like Spenser and Shakespeare, and the 
thinkers and masters of prose, like Richard Hooker and 
Francis Bacon, did not bestow their gifts upon the Church's 
forms. The hasty and shrewd adaptations and revisions 
of Cranmer were enough for the English nation in her new 


self-consdousness as a Church. But is it inconceivable 
that Shakespeare and the rest of his kind would have re- 
funded to her call, bad she but called ? 

7. The Poets Called 

Let the present-day situation in all its realism be kept 
clearly in mind. By an effective demand is meant not 
merely one that honours the poet with wreaths of bay, 
but one that secures him a belter livelihood than he can 
win by turning his genius to any other application of his 
art. Men of genius rightly are drawn to that domain 
where they can lind most honour, most recognition, the 
greatest leisure, the fullest trust, the completest command 
of all the materials needed and the widest scope for the 
realization of ideas and the manifestation of their creative 
power. Constructive artists do not defy and stem the 
main currents of their age. On the contrary, they are 
most sensitive to the drift. What they think and feel and 
do is an index of the newest life and impulse of the times. 
And the test of the times is the effective demand which 
they make upon the artist. 

Those, therefore, who have not the poet's nor musician's 
nor dramatist's gift may at least help to create an active 
public opinion. It is a lamentable characteristic of our 
age that the new faith seems to lack understanding of the 
means towards the realization of its great end. In striking 
contrast to its impracticality is the efficient grip of con- 
servative religionists upon means for bolstering up obsolete 
doctrines and symbols. Illustrative of the whole question 
here under consideration was the remark of a famous 
designer of stained-glass windows : he was a man scien- 
tifically trained and imaginative, in sympathy with all the 
newer ideals of the people ; yet the best years of his life 
were spent in designing and painting for chim:h windows 


illustrations of the cosmogony of the first chapters of 
Genesis, of the conceptions of angels found in Ezekiel, 
and of the New Testament miracles — in no one of which 
he believed. When asked how he could lavish beauty 
upon and thus perpetuate ideas which he counted false 
and pernicious, he replied, "The patrons of my art give me 
orders for these things, whereas the believers in the new 
ideals send me no orders." 

To put it bluntly, we must go straight to the poets of all 
sorts and tell them what we want. We should begin with 
the great writers of our day. Many of them are eminently 
capable of bodying forth in sublime forms the national 
idealism of our day. We who demand need not even give 
a hint of what it is we want as regards actual structure ; 
that is the poet's function to discover. 

The best writers of our time are all gone astray on lines 
infinitely less congenial to their genius than a new liturgy 
would be. They could express the aspiration and buoyant 
confidence of the rising social democracy, of woman, and 
of childhood. I will speak only of British writers, who well 
might serve even America. Take the case of that pro- 
foundly passionate prophet of the new life, Mr. Israel Zang- 
will. His little book of poems, entitled " Blind Children," 
exhibits such strength and closeness of phrase as would 
suit a litany. The passion of his poetry is of the ethical 
order. Tell him that Christendom, which is still using in 
its liturgy the poetic utterances of his spiritual and natural 
ancestors, wants the religious genius of Judaism brought up 
to date. We need a Temple service which shall be as 
native to us as was theirs to the ancient Jews. 

Consider for a moment the pathetic waste of Mr. Rudyard 
Kipling's bold imagination and virile tongue. To what end 
has he written? To delight us and our children, and to 
back British territory-grabbers. Or import Mr. William 
Watson, prophet and poet of the higher patriotism. Not 


one in a thousand of his contemporaries is familiar witi 
the majestic rhythm of his lines. Besides Mr. Williai 
Watson, democratic America should call to herself Mi 
Edward Carpenter, in order that labour might cease to b 
only a groan and not a voice — that the churches migh 
again articulate the people's need and guide their hope. 

And what might we not do with Mr. Shaw ? Why no 
retain him, the himianist, as sensitive as St. Francis him 
self to the sufferings of the poor and of dumb brutes, as chiv 
alrous as any knight of the Roimd Table, as candid as trutl 
itself, and yet possessing the supreme grace of humour anc 
that practical skill of stage-craft which is indisj>ensable tc 
the deviser of rituals ? Why should his great gift of drama- 
tic presentation not be utilized by the churches, as the princi- 
ples of moral pedagogy require, for the storming of the senses 
of the people in the interests of the Soul of the nation ? 

And as England fails to do so, why should not America 
summon the musical genius of Sir Edward Elgar ? To think 
that England's one really great and internationally renowned 
inventor of harmonies should have been setting to music that 
ghastly offspring of scholasticism, bom five hundred years 
after due time. Cardinal Newman's " Dream of Gerontius " ! 
Sir Edward Elgar should have been retained by England to 
transform into convincing melody the dream of England's 
women, her children, and her poor. 

8. The Humanists in Religion 

What is needed within the churches is an ethical-demo- 
cratic party, which shall look to the interests of the new 
idealism. Indeed, such a party has already sprung up in 
every denomination and is making steady advance. It is 
taking up the point of view of the Humanists of the sixteenth 
century. It is continuing the work of Sir Thomas More 
and Erasmus, who sided neither with Luther nor with the 



conservative party of Rome, but on the principle of Catho- 
licism plus what was the Science of their day would have 
transformed the Roman organization and rites. The 
modernists are humanists of the twentieth century. The 
specific work of this party must consist in constructing 
religious services adequate to the science and the spiritual 
needs of the present day, in experimenting in the actual 
conducting of such services in religious assemblings, and 
thus educating the public and winning converts to their 
party. Thus would be ushered in an era when all the dif- 
ferent tendencies of faith would be equally recognized. 
Side by side, rival forms could be practised and each group 
of worshippers could choose those commended of its own 
judgment. There would be no need to suppress any inno- 
cent forms which satisfied peculiarities and even eccentri- 
cities of temperament and intellect. Such would be the 
ideal method of religious evolution; and such, there is 
reason to hope, will be the actual process, now that America 
for half a century has been disciplined to the idea of ex- 
periment and of deference to the spiritual individuality of 

It is wholly inconsistent with the policy of the humanist 
party to wish to introduce uniformity by compromise or 
by terrorizing either a minority or a majority. Humanism 
as a religiouis policy can adopt no other method than tentsr 
tive adaptation ; there will be no need to clamour or wrangle 
or resort to the subterfuges of a oinning opportunism. 


I. FamHiar AcqiuutUance Needed 

As this volume is, in one ai^iect, an invitation to the 
pubEc to ^ve impartial consideration to the daims of 
diurch services which would be new in tbeir object and 
inward meaning and partly new in outward shi^, it nay 
not be superfluous to indicate what the conditions are 
which enable a person to judge competently of any religious 

If a person has been accustomed to the elaborate cere- 
monies of the High Church and has derived his spiritual 
strength through them, he will be astonished, upon his 
attending a Quaker meeting for the £rst time, that human 
beings, apparently of like susceptibilities with his own, could 
sit speechless and motionless with others for ten, fifteen, or 
thirty minutes together. But upon reflection it becomes 
perfectly evident that no one attending a Quaker meet- 
ing for the first time can be a competent judge. Its effects 
upon him are exceptional, and are the opposite of those 
produced upon the minds of Quakers themselves or of per- 
sons who have in some period of their life grown familiar 
with the meaning of its massive silences and its unpremedi- 
tated outbursts of speech. Here are two opposite effects 
produced by the same form. That upon those habituated 
to it is peace, love, clearer insight, new power of self-control 
and of self-sacrifice : that upon the stranger is a feeling 
almost of repulsion. The silence to the stranger is empty, 
the motionlessness stupefying. The speeches and prayers 
^ 336 


bear none of that majestic poetry and manifest none of 
that mental vision which he has been wont to consider as 
the distinctive mark of utterances inspired by the Most 
High. Of these opposite effects, it is clear that the one 
which should be accounted the standard is that made upon 
the mind of the person who is familiar with the form. 

The first rule, then, to which the judge of a new liturgy 
must submit is that he make himself intimately familiar 
with it and suspend judgment imtil he has done so. I set 
forth this rule of criticism not only in order that my readers 
shall discount the prejudices which they might feel towards 
forms of the kind which I propose; my chief motive for 
calling attention to this first canon of criticism is that per- 
sons who are wholly in sympathy with the fimdamental 
ideas of what I call ethical religion should prepare them- 
selves to become appreciative and constructive critics of 
Roman Catholic rites, of the High Church liturgy, of the 
forms of service prevalent in all the Protestant churches, and 
even of the ritual of the Greek Church. The St. Paul-that- 
is-to-be of the humanitarian faith must know all things 
that work eflfectively upon all men and be willing to in- 
troduce every invention that shall foster spiritual energy. 
To prepare oneself for scientific and democratic revision, 
one must study even priestly and occult rituals sympa- 
thetically, psychologically, and sociologically. Whatever 
power for good or evil such forms have had, it was due to 
elements within them which were purely natural in their 
operation. But these elements cannot be judged justly if 
they still awaken a feeling of revulsion due to strangeness. 
One who has studied them long enough to be rid of the 
sense of novelty will also find that he will have outgrown 
that well-nigh universal prejudice which shrinks from re- 
introducing in new connections any music or ceremonial 
act or object that has been associated with supematuralistic 
ideas. A man may test his imfitness to judge of religious 


services by the degree to which he shrinks from forms the 
ideas of whidi he has discarded. It is an enor to tnmSa 
the dislike for a princq>le to the outward fonn throng 
■wiaxii that priiu:q>le has been able to propagate itsdf. 
For that same fonn may be the best means alao for &t 
transmission of the oj^Msaite idea. The shrinking from Ote 
^TifftTniKn.r prevents our widening our a rf^^ a*" tw "Tt^^ 
with religious expressdons and recognizing the poea H aB t ies 
of utiliang those expressions for the connuonicatioti erf our 
own living faith. I am not sure but that it is vaixe fat' 
portant for & man to gain an e^qiert knowledge of the cere- 
monies of other reli^ns than to become an authcni^ in 
repaid to bis own. If ever a ceremony arises ao beantifid 
and full of meaning as to commend itself to the judgmexit 
of the nation as a whole, it will spring out of the labours and 
insight of men who count all the forms of all the re]i^(Hi5 
of the world as new material to be used and transformed 
to the needs of the nation. 

2. The Effect on the BeUever 

The second rule for jud^g any religious service b that 
no one should attempt to do so by its effects upon himself, 
unless he believes in the truth of the idea which it embodies. 
A form incorporating a thought which we believe to be 
false seems l^e mummery unless for the time being we 
force ourselves to forget our own convictions. It must be 
remembered, however, that what is objectionable is not 
the form, as such, but the idea, false to us, which we see 
exercising over others what we believe to be a deplorable 
influence. The attack, therefore, in such a case, should 
never be upon the form. By sweeping that away one would 
not dry up the evil at its source. Those Protestants err 
who assail the forms instead of the substance of the Roman 
Catholic Chiirch and deplore any approximation to them 


on the part of the Episcopal communion. If the ideas 
which animate Episcopal forms are the same as those which 
have foimd concrete embodiment in the Roman ritual, 
the attack should be directed against the ideas, not against 
the ceremonies. 

In short, nothing in a ritual which to us is absurd, be- 
cause the idea which it embodies is absurd, should be 
coimted as an objection to the ritual itself. A ritual is 
a means towards an end. The end is that a certain idea, 
which is in the mind of some persons, should be communi- 
cated powerfully to the minds of other persons. But no 
evil inherent in the idea should be blamed against the 
medium which has been able to convey it. We must not 
complain of the ceremony of the Mass in the Roman Catho- 
lic Church if it succeeds in creating in the minds of the wor- 
shippers an overpowering sense of the immediate presence 
of the living spirit of Jesus Christ in the consecrated ele- 
ments ; for that is the very idea which the Mass was meant 
to convey. If we suppress the Mass, we must remember 
that we are overthrowing only the means by which the 
idea was communicated, and not the idea itself, which may 
still live in the minds of the Catholic priesthood. 

Instead of attacking a symbol of an idea we hate, we 
ought, on the contrary, to feel towards it as the Govern- 
ment of one nation might towards some new device for 
military or naval defence which another nation had dis- 
covered and failed to keep secret. In spiritual warfare it 
is justifiable to rejoice when one is able to steal an enemy's 
gunpowder. Every symbol of every doctrine I abhor shall 
teach me how to convey the doctrine I love. In judging 
of my spiritual enemy's symbol, therefore, I must not be 
biassed by the fact tJiat for me it is mere mummery, or 


3. The Value of Ihe Thing Symbolized 

A third canon which should be borae in mind is that no 
symbol should be judged by its effect upon us, even thou^ 
we be familiar with it and though we count its teaching 
to be true, provided the truth it conveys is in our opinion 
of very little worth in the relative scale of human values. 
No form which conveys a truth to us insignificant can 
impress us. It leaves a sense of insipidity ; and yet the 
form, both bodily act and words, may be quite perfect as 
symbols. A philosophic agnostic or rationalist, if he finds 
himself more intensely bored by the forms of the Episcopal 
Church than by the services of other Protestant bodies, 
ought to remember that this effect upon him is due to the 
greater efficiency of the more finely finished forms. They 
more powerfully convey to his mind the doctrines which he 
hates than do the less literary and classic rites. We must put 
ourselves by force of sympathetic imagination in the position 
of the devout and enthu^astic worshipper. When we have 
done this, we are able to detect just how much of the effect 
of the reli^on we are studying is to be traced to the idea 
itself and how much to the ceremonies in which it is em- 
bodied. We then are also able to detect what elements 
in these are capable of complete detachment from the 
special ideas which they serve and can be appropriated by 
a religion which wholly discards trust in superhuman 
agencies as the source of moral inspiration. 

4. Minor Cautions 

Another rule which will aid towards an impartial judg- 
ment of any religious rite is to bear in mind that it is not 
essential to any ritual that it should be rqwated every day ot 
twice every Sunday, or even once a wef^ or once a month. 
Unhappily, the churches of our day which depend most 


upon liturgy iterate and reiterate the same forms ad nau^ 
seam. Many, even, who devoutly believe the ideas con- 
veyed, find the reiteration intolerable. This satiety from 
too frequent hearing and seeing of the same forms accoimts 
for a very large part of the prevalent dislike of ritual ; and 
yet that dislike is purely accidental. If the Episcopal 
Church should adopt quite different forms for morning 
and evening service for every day in the year, var3dng the 
order and presenting different aspects of its great teach- 
ings, it might be able to draw aU Protestantism into one 
fold, and help persons who have outgrown supematuralism 
to see the possibilities of using ritual in the interests of 
national idealism. 

In lieu of any such introduction of infinite and delight- 
ful variety into the services of the Episcopal Church, it 
would be well if those intelligently interested in the reli- 
gious life of the nation would remember that the monotony 
attributed to ritual to-day is wholly extraneous to its es- 
sential nature, and that the ritual of the future may reflect 
the exhaustless fulness of life itself, and thus meet that 
intellectual need which psychologists call the law of variety. 

Another caution may here be in place. A religious 
ritual may leave us apathetic, not because of any defect 
in itself as art or because of any falsehood or insignifi- 
cance in its idea, but because it goes counter to some 
self-interest which we are unwilling to sacrifice to the in- 
terests of humanity at large. Our judgment may tell us 
that the idea conveyed is true and good and that the means 
by which it is conveyed are beautiful; and yet we may 
on this accoimt be alarmed. Were the idea, by means of 
the symbol, to penetrate into our inmost self, we should be 
compelled to let go some treasure which we clutch. Let 
us imagine a person quite prepared in all other ways to 
appreciate the lines from George Eliot's " Spanish Gypsy," 
which I would suggest as an appropriate utterance for the 


openiiig at a confirmation rite when the churches have be- 
come humanistic : 

Ours is a faith 
Taught by no priest, but by our beating hearts: 
Faith to each other; the fidelity 
Of men whose pulses lei^ with kindred fiire^ 
Who in the fladi of eyes, the dasp of hands^ 
Nay, in the silent bodily presence, fed 
The mystic stirrings of a common life 
Which makes the many one. 

The truth and beauty of these words may be f dt to be un- 
impeachable ; but on that account they may be hateful to 
a person who, despite his better nature, loathes ** the great 
unwashed." Liberty, equality, and fraternity are all very 
well in the abstract and as a watchword of a political party ; 
but fraternity in a church's rite of admission to member- 
ship, committing every one to social recognition of the 
crowd who make up the congregation, might be exacting 
too great a sacrifice of many a refined, exclusive soul. 

Another prejudice inevitably confronts one who asks 
the public to sanction democratic and modernist innova- 
tions in church services. A critic hearing a new ritual 
imperfectly rendered should discoimt the imperfections of 
the rendering and not attribute to the spedal form offences 
attributable to defects of execution. An exquisite poem 
or magnificent prose utterance may be so stammeringly 
spoken as to make it impossible for the listener to realize 
the beauty or the moral dignity of the composition or the 
possibility of its being impressively rendered. A certain 
degree of skill must be evinced before even a fair jury would 
be able to pronounce a just judgment. What is true of 
mere elocution is to a greater degree the case in regard to 
instrumental and vocal music. The general public never 
discriminates between bad music and a bad rendering of 
good music; but a critic of unfamiliar forms of public 


worship can train himself to detect when the rendering 
is the cause of offence. 

The old-established forms possess an enormous advan- 
tage over new and democratic symbols. They command 
the best music, the finest architecture, and all other acces- 
sories. The further one goes from the churches where the 
aristocratic and wealthy worship, the more one finds not 
only ideas which would offend their preconceptions, but 
also forms and renderings of forms which would outrage 
their standards. The classes most cultivated aesthetically 
have nevertheless not had enough intellectual training to 
be self-critical ; they attribute to the new forms and ideas 
offence due merely to crudities of execution, which may be 
owing to the poverty of believers in the new ideas. 

Still another caution must be given for the guidance of 
the critic of new religious forms and proposed revisions of 
old. Ritual, like the drama, can only be judged when it 
is witnessed in actual execution. The items of the rite 
and the directions for production when merely read in a 
book will not disclose their possibilities even to an expert. 
It is a commonplace of experience that imtil a drama is 
actually performed nobody can tell how it will "take." 
The dramatist himself does not know. Actors and stage- 
managers are proverbially liable to erroneous judgment. 
They reject pieces which prove afterwards the greatest 
successes, and expend vast simis of money on the perform- 
ance of plays which fail utterly. 

There is no occasion for us to enter into the essential 
differences of a literary composition when read in a book 
and when recited in a church. But the difference is as- 
tonishingly great. A religious rite in the pages of a book is 
to its actual celebration very much as a corpse to a living 
body. A sentence or a ritualistic sign takes on new and 
xmexpected vitality the moment it is uttered or enacted 
before a public assembly convened for that purpose. 



It would not be difficult to prove, both Ustodca&y and 
analytically, that where there is no ceremonial tlieze is 
no religion. 

I. Bisiorical 

The historical proof lies in the fact, diadoaed by tbtuou^ 

research, that every nation or race known to us as holding 
reU^ous ideas possesses some form, however rudimentary, 
of ceremonial. In the main, with the complexity of the 
ideas, the rites develop ; althou^ there may be counteract- 
ing tendencies which prevent the same pace in each. It is 
generally thought that as a religion grows more spiritual 
it loses in ceremonial complexity, and that the inwardness 
of one's ideas of God naturally miUtates against outward 
forms ; but even this is found not to be the case if we take 
a psychological and, so to speak, physiological, and not 
merely a spectacular, view of ceremony. The case of the 
Society of Friends is one in point. Superficially and out- 
wardly it would seem that persons who sit motionless in a 
meeting for an hour together, and dress with severe sim- 
plicity, are anti-rituahsts, and disprove once for all the 
dictum that where there is no ceremonial there is no re- 
ligion. But first let us remember that symbolical dress is 
the most striking element in the furniture of even spec- 
tacular ritual. Further, in proportion as Quakers have 
discarded their peculiar garb, they have generally discarded 
their peculiar tenets. But, quite apart from the question 
1, for a number of persons to ^t silently together is 



the most dramatic and eloquent ceremonial ever invented. 
Physiologically, also, there is no action involving more self- 
control, more domination of every nerve and muscle, than 
motionlessness. Think of the tongue, with its proneness to 
move when the mind is bursting with ideas to be commu- 
nicated. Think of the eye that so easily wanders ; of the 
ear solicited by every stray soimd. Consider, again, the 
tremendous physiological self-consdousness developed by 
the silent presence of others, xmless one is dominated by an 
overpowering idealism. We need only to peep beneath the 
surface of things to see that here is action — and action that 
requires not only an almost hypnotic control of a whole 
assembly by a single thought, but also action which pro- 
duces upon every onlooker a most powerful impression of 
the reality of the thing signified. 

Again, to some persons the fact that religion is a fimction 
of ceremonial, and vice versa, is obscured by the aesthetic 
meagreness of many ceremonials of which the imderlying 
religious conviction is highly intellectual and inward. 
There is a tendency to imagine that rites which are not 
aesthetic are not ceremonial, and that an absence of the 
fine arts proves an absence of ritual. This, however, is 
utterly a mistake. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper 
has not in and of itself any aesthetic element ; or, if it has, 
it is only what is borrowed from the general social grace 
and manners of the persons who communicate. It is quite 
possible that many among the humble folk who entered 
the Christian movement at the start, because it was a 
burial and sick-benefit society, partook of the Lord's Supper 
in a manner not more graceful and charming outwardly 
than they ate any other meal. Likewise it is difficult to 
see very striking aesthetic elements or any elaboration of 
the various fine arts in the rite of immersion. K there 
were anything beautiful in the ceremony, it could only 
be something quite accidental — as that the Church offi- 



dal perfonning it happened to be graceful in the mo v emcatt 
of his body and well developed in physique. £vcn then, 
however, it is hard to imagine that men with their dotha 
dii{^ung with water would confonn to our notinia at beauty 
in drapery. likewise the drif^ong face and stnaminK 
hair must be such as at least no ordinary person wotild 
count osthetically attractive conqtared with the iaoe wbien 

What is true of the Z<ord's Supper and bq>tiBm faoaa an 
esthetic point of view holds equally of the detaib <d «B 
th« essential features of the Catludic ceremonial. The 
maViTig of the sign ol the Cross h^f^ nntlimg in itsdf of 
the beautiful ; nor has the elevation of the host ; nor have 
the forms of the marriage rite and of biirial. It is alto- 
gether a mistake, then, to identify ritual even in its most 
elaborate forms with the fine arts, and then to argue from 
an absence of the latter that the former is not present. 
Even if we confine ourselves to the elaborate services of 
the Roman Catholic Church on Sundays and the great 
festival days, of the splendour of which one hears much, 
we must adinit that the ritual proper, except in colour, is not 
splendid. There is nothing especially beautiful in a man's 
kneeling many times, in the bowings of others before him, 
in his muttering of the words of a book, in his turnings 
about, and in the changes made in dress. 

Probably the right relation between the fine arts and 
ritual is that suggested by a passage in Mr. Deanner's 
" Parson's Handbook," where he says that many persons are 
kept away from the Anglican Church on account of its bad 
music, and for this reason he pleads that the music shall 
be good. This suggestion is sound, both religiously and 
psycholo^cally. In a conununity accustomed to mu^c of a 
high class you must either have none at all in your public 
worship or a kind which will not give offence. K robes 
are to be worn, they must harmonize in colour, sh^ie, and 


quality of fabric with the community's feelings of the ap- 
propriateness of all these to the occasion. We thus dis- 
cover the whole principle of the relation of the fine arts 
to ritual. If the ceremony is to be in a building, that build- 
ing must meet the requirements of the people architec- 
turally. But whether the costumes and the building are 
really aesthetic or not is wholly beside the mark. The one 
question is. Do they keep any one away on account of 
their ugliness ? 

Perhaps the proposition that where there is no cere- 
monial there is no religion should be taken as true not of 
an individual himian being, but of a nation ; and not of a 
nation at any one instant, but throughout its history. It 
is possible that after generations of ritual, religion without 
the visible signs might continue to live. It is certainly 
possible that in a commimity where various religious rites 
are regularly practised by various groups of worshippers, 
many individual persons who never participate in these 
rites may be most devoutly religious. In such a case, 
however, it may be questioned whether such persons do 
not constantly have the fundamental problems and senti- 
ments of religion thrust upon their attention by the very 
ceremonials which they themselves abstain from witnessing 
and perhaps regard with loathing. The credit, therefore, 
for the religion even of those who have no ritual must in 
such cases be assigned to ritual. . 

After these explanations, it is probable that no one will 
contend against the general proposition that in a nation 
where there is no ceremonial there can be no religion. 

2. Analytical 

Philosophically, the case stands thus : Religious ceremony 
is in its very nature sacramental, if we take the Prayer 
Book's definition of a sacrament as an outward and visible 


sign of an inward and spiritual grace. A ceremony which 
did not signify an inward and spiritual grace, and wtuch 
was not thought, at least by the devotees themselves of 
the cult, to be necessary to the conveyance of the grace, 
would never have been adopted. A man might possibly, 
on philosophical and ethical grounds, reject every sacra- 
ment as unnecessary and even pernicious. Still he could 
not deny that those who did pnctise a relighMis rite be- 
lieved in the necesdty for it, and therefore, under the dom- 
nation of this belief, positively needed it. 

But why is a ngn necessary? Or rather, what is die 
nature of the InwaM and q^tual grace which requixea a 
vehicle ? If, again, we take the pcnnt of view not (^ the 
individufd alone, but of the cbmmimity or the nation, we 
shall easily be convinced that every spiritual grace is de- 
pendent upon an outward sign. If such a grace is some- 
thing that is communicated from the heart and will of one 
person to the heart and will of another, through their om- 
sdous intelligence, it becomes almost self-evident to anybody 
who knows human life, that there could be no communi- 
cation of it without a sign as a symbol of the thought of the 
one understood by both. The whole of language is nothing 
but a system of signs, and at bottom every communication 
of an idea from one person to another, if that idea be true 
or be felt by both to be true, partakes of the nature of a 
sacrament. What is the conveying of an inspiring thought 
from one to another by an outward and visible sign but an 
instance of the very thing which the Church of England 
declares to be a sacrament? One may readily concede 
that the word sacrament does not apply unless the grace 
commmiicated is some reli^ous principle or virtue. But 
then one cannot deny that rehgious ceremonial is only a 
specific variety of a whole genus of rittmls, which, in pro- 
portion as the matters with which they deal are sacred, are 
sacraments. Any word which is the exclusive ^gn of a 


special meaning is essential to the conveyance of that 
meaning to another. Words, however, constitute only one 
system of signs. Gestures make up another, dress another, 
styles of architecture another. 

We cannot imderstand the philosophy of ceremonial in 
religion imless we imderstand its use, and the necessity for 
it, in other domains of human interest. There is very 
much in human life which is ritualistic, yet which we fail 
to recognize as such. Every act, in so far as it is an arbi- 
trary sign of something in the mind of him who performs 
it, by which he is able to communicate that mental some- 
thing to the mind of another, is an act of ritual. Persons, 
therefore, who disapprove of religious ceremony on the 
groimd that ritual altogether is an absurdity and without 
foundation in practical necessity, must be ready to sweep 
it away from its other domains as well. Let a man strip 
from human manners all that is not an immediate ne- 
cessity of direct satisfaction, and he will begin to realize 
that, whether the similar statement be true of religion or 
not, it is literally a fact that where there is no ceremonial, 
there are no manners. If there were no acts agreed upon 
arbitrarily by the community and performed as signs of 
deference, of respect, of cordiality, of trust, of affection, 
of acquaintanceship, of being strangers, to what a state of 
barren crudity and isolation should we be reduced ! 

In another volume I remind my readers that some sort 
of a sign of entrance into a church, a physical act imder- 
stood to indicate the mental act, must be submitted to, 
else it is inconceivable that a church could ever acquire 
new voluntary members. Of course a church might 
count itself synonymous with the nation, and say that 
every person bom on the soil of the nation was a member. 
But then it becomes quite clear that the necessity of a 
sign has not been done away with. The sign ceases to be 
a voluntary act, but the fact of being bom within the 


geographical area of the nation becomes itself the symbol ; 
and, as it is an event not within the arbitrary will of the 
individual, such a church thereby ceases to receive voluntary 
members. Here, accordingly, the necessity for arbitrar)' 
signs is confirmed instead of being disproved. 

In business life ritual is as important and prominent as 
it is in religion. Constantly the commercial community 
must by common consent seize upon some one act or cir- 
cumstance which is to serve no longer in its ordinary and 
natural capacity alone, but as an arbitrary sign which, once 
chosen, possesses almost a magical power. What a differ- 
ence between the spoken word of an agreement and the 
signature to a written document ! The difference is not 
in the natural inferiority of the word or in a lack of honour 
on the part of the man who feels at liberty to break his 
word. The difference between the spoken word and the 
signature is that the community has never stamped the 
spoken word as the legal sign committing the speaker. If 
once the word spoken in the presence of others were to be 
made the sign, one would find that the sense of inviolability 
now attaching to the signature would be transferred to the 
verbal symbol. In escaping from rel^on, one has not 
escaped from ritual. One has only escaped from the word ; 
and qiute possibly it is that in religion, and not the thing, 
which gives offence to many. 

Ritual as a social phenomenon is extremely complex. 
For instance, I have been speaking of acts chosen arbi- 
trarily as signs of some inward and spiritual grace. Now 
if a totally new set of acts that had no meaning otherwise 
were chosen, the case of ritual would be comparativdy 
simple. But nearly always an act serves in a double ca- 
pacity, both as an arbitrary sign and as an actual direct 
benefit to oneself or another. For instance, to drink a 
glass of wine may be a direct service or disservice to <H»e- 
self. This would be quite enough to insure the practice 


or condemnation of it. Yet it is just such an act as drink- 
ing a glass of wine which is seized upon and made to do 
duty in another capacity. If you drink in the company 
of others, it may be taken as a symbol of friendship, of 
fellowship. To refuse to perform the act in this way may 
be the grossest insult. To perform it with certain persons 
may be the occasion of losing caste with others, and may 
act as a signal for a social boycott. 

It requires considerable alertness and acuteness in watch- 
ing one's conduct throughout a single day to discover how 
many acts, which one does as if they were of direct ex- 
pediency, serve also in the capacity of symbols. Unlike 
the lifting of the hat, the shaking of hands, the formal 
greetings with friends, which are purely symbolical acts, 
nearly everything we do is just as much serviceable as it is 
ritualistic. The ritual nature of these acts which have 
another import is one which we are prone to forget entirely 
in the ordinary course of life. 

3. The Symbolism of Dress 

Take, for instance, the kind of clothes we wear. How 
few of us fully realize that the distinction between the con- 
ventional dress of men and women is a matter of ritual. 
It would be almost impossible to detect at a distance 
whether most human beings of the age of forty were men 
or women if they were dressed alike, if the men were shaved, 
and the manner of wearing the hair were the same. Be- 
cause of this possible confusion it is that the law makes it 
a criminal offence for men to wear women's clothes or women 
men's. It is here, however, wholly a question of ritual. 
The woman's dress, besides serving as a convenience and a 
decency, serves as a sign to announce that she is a woman. So 
of a man's dress. This difference, however, is no more strik- 
ing than that in the costume of different classes of society. 


We are so accustomed to wear clothes which imme- 
diately declare the class we belong to, that we do not 
realize the effects that would come were we suddenly to 
don the style of dress of people of another station. Only 
when we imaginatively picture the consequences do we 
realize the deep psychological hold which the signs ha^'e 
upon the mind of the community and upon our own habits. 
No pec^e who are not working-men dress like tfaem ; idudi 
means, not that the dress of the day-labourer is inconvaiieat 
or not beautiful or is necessarily untidy, but simi^jr that 
any man above the working-class would almost as lief die 
as be identified by the community with those who are dis- 
inherited frcnn all the greatest privHq^ of humanity. He 
might also shrink from the suspicion of insanity which would 
be hurled at him if people, knowing him to be rich, saw him 
in the garb of a day-labourer. It is equally true that the 
moment people of the working-class, by any accident of 
fortune, become rich, they instantly assume the dress of the 
classes of society above the working-class; not primarily 
because that dress is aesthetically or hygienically preferable, 
but because it stands as a symbol for social position and the 
command of power and opportunity. 

When certain classes of persons wear distinctive uni- 
form, it becomes more immediately evident that their 
clothes are not only for convenience and decency, but that 
the peculiar colour or shape or ornamentation is a sign of 
their social position or function. Yet it seems so natural 
that the postman, the soldier, the sailor, and the protea- 
sional nurse should wear uniforms that we easily forget 
that it is only by making the dress arbitrarily a sign of 
something with which it has no inherent connection that 
we are able instantly to recognize in the distance the post- 
man, the soldier, sailor, and nurse as such. What a mar- 
vellously efficient system of conuuunicating a knowledge 
of such invisible yet powerful realities as social function 


and position through the eye! How terribly cruel was 
the use made of the ritual of dress in the case of the Jews 
in the Ghetto ! How horrible it is in the present custom 
of a prison garb and a poorhouse uniform ! But all these 
cases prove at least the universal secular recognition of 
outward and visible signs for organic social fimctions and 
relations. It is then a little strange that persons who 
accept, for instance, as altogether suitable the costume for 
the nurse or the imiform for the postman should speak 
with contempt of a distinctive garb for priests. Logically 
and practically the transference of one's contempt from 
the priest to the dress he wears is altogether xmjustifiable. 
For his office would be just as contemptible, if it were con- 
temptible, whether he dressed in imiform or not. But the 
tremendous efficiency of ritual is proved by this almost 
instinctive transference of horror for the inward reality to 
the outward and visible sign. The only justification for 
wishing to remove the priestly garb without abolishing the 
priesthood is that you would be removing one powerful 
means by which the priesthood announces its existence to 
the community. Nothing is more striking upon the first 
visit of a stranger to Rome than the enormous number of 
priests who throng the streets. The impression is created 
of the ever-present power of the Church. Strip from the 
clothes of the priest the signs of his office and this reminder 
of the existence of the Church would vanish instantly. In 
Berlin the officers of the army, thanks to the military use 
of ritual, are in similar domination over the mind of a 
stranger. One never can escape the sense of the haunt- 
ing, alert presence of the military power. 

So true is it that the unseen functions and relationships 
of human society are dependent upon systems of arbitrary 
signs that one may well say that with the abolition of all 
the signs would ensue an annihilation of the functions. If 
not only the distinctiveness of his garb, but every other 


arbitrary signal of ofi&ce of the priest were removed, he 
would no longer be a priest, in that he could not possibly 
be recognized ; and, not being recognized, he would not 
be allowed to perform the very rudiments of the priestly 

As a part, then, of a general policy for abolishing the 
social function of any class it would be justifiable to at- 
tempt to forbid their ritualistic dress. But if one's hatred 
of the thing signified is to extend to some of the signs by 
which it is signified, it ought to extend to them all. If the 
object be not to abolish the function of a certain class, 
but only to repress it, to deprive it of part of its power 
and restrict it within narrower limits, then to strip it of 
some of its symbols while allowing it the use of others is 
justifiable both logically and practically. Undoubtedly 
one sees in the relative amount of symbolism in the dress of 
Roman Catholic priests, Anglican clergymen, and non- 
episcopal preachers an expression of the different degrees 
of ascendency of the offidais in these three religious 

An individualistic philosophy of religion, politics, and 
economics is the only point of view from which the ritual 
of dress can be opposed. And historically it has been op- 
posed by anarchistic and anti-socialistic .Uieorists. It will 
be found that in proportion as a man's social ftmction 
and position are counted to be of less significance than his 
all-round individuality as a human being and than his 
own private liberty, in that proportion symbolic dress has 
been abolished. Individualistic religious liberty has been the 
source of the hatred of the social function of the priest and 
preacher and of the churches, and is thus the origin of the 
hatred of the official's dress. It is equally the origin of the 
abolition of uniform generally. The officer of the Rnglish 
' army is not in xmiform except when on duty. He is a 
civilian among civilians in his everyday life in England. 


Uniform prevails there to-day only to mark the disgrace of 
poverty or crime, or to serve commercially and as a defence 
for property or to annoimce sex. The postman has a uni- 
form because the function of transmitting written com- 
munications is considered so important in business that the 
postman's individuality is as nothing compared with his 
official responsibility in delivering letters. Likewise the 
policeman is dressed symbolically. The individuality of 
the policeman is as nothing compared to his defence of 
property. A policeman is ten times a man, and therefore 
we dress him as a superman. But what a commentary 
upon our modem society that the social fimction of the 
policeman is coimted thus infinitely more valuable than 
that of the school-teacher ! The authority of the school- 
teacher would be enhanced and the work made easy were 
he or she, at least in school hours, to wear a teacher's dress. 
And this will surely come as we again recognize the intel- 
lectual and moral functions of the State. 

Carlyle's humorous philosophy of clothes was but a chap- 
ter in the philosophy of outward and visible signs of inward 
and spiritual graces. Carlyle perhaps exaggerated the sig- 
nificance of clothes. We should not be reduced even out- 
wardly to a level if all symbolic dress were discarded. 
Other arbitrary signs would be chosen which would indi- 
cate differences of sentiment, prejudice, spiritual power, 
origin, ancestry, and what not. Indeed, Carlyle himself 
takes clothes but as a type of all forms of symbolism. 

We have seen that there is nothing peculiar to religion 
as distinct from manners or commerce which makes it 
dependent upon ritual, and have found that as an actual 
fact manners and commerce are just as ritualistic as re- 
ligion. One may say of commerce, as of the other two: 
where there is no ritual, there is no trade. Where there is 
no outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual 
grace of exchange of ownership of commodities, there is no 


czdiange. Acondhig^, when the Founder of CtAtSaxity 
mnsted iqxm bnmenKm as a sign for adminiaa to tbe 
Ctiurch and iqNm a common meal u an evidesoe of loyshy 
anunig membeiB, when he declaied that b^)tism was csmb- 
tial to salvation, he was doing nothing differeat from tbt 
which the business man does; nor weie Us reasons diffieRat 

4. Wot SupemaUtraHtHc 

When we bear in mind that it is no peculiarity of refigioB 
which makes ceremonial a neceaaty for it, we see how 
false is the generally prevalent notion that the saptt- 

naturalism of religion is what mokes the resort to tigns 
and rites indispensable. It may well be granted that if 
the spiritual grace to be communicated is the favour of some 
personal agent beyond man and nature who requires formal 
homage, then the making of the signs that please him would 
become the sine qua non of gaining his favour. But here 
again we note that the sign is necessary not because the 
agent commumcated with is supernatural, but simply be- 
cause he is another personal agent, and that a system of 
signs must always be set up if one of two persons is to 
communicate a knowledge of his inward disposition to the 

This statement opens up to us a second phase of the 
nature of ritual, suggested in the Frayer-Book deSnition 
by the words "inward and spiritual." 

5. The Ethical Meaning of Ritual 

The spiritual grace is never merely a general idea un- 
related to the persons who communicate or receive it. 
There is never simply a sign of a general or a particular 
fact, such as a scientific formula might be, or an account of 
some event which took place in ancient Athens unrelated 


to the persons by whom and to whom to-day the sign is 
made. Always his own will and his own heart are com- 
mitted by the person making a ritualistic sign and are 
received and accepted by those to whom it is made. Par- 
ticipation in an act of ritual is a personal commitment or 
pledge, and therefore is an event in the moral and social 
history of the participants. The woman who assumes the 
rdle of bride in the marriage ceremony is actually thereby 
becoming the wife of the man who stands by her side. 
She is not simply symbolically illustrating in fantastic man- 
ner some general principle of monogamy. She is staking 
almost all her chances for happiness in life upon the act 
she is performing. The marriage ceremony is infinitely 
removed in its nature from a show or a symbolical repre- 
sentation of some real event which took place elsewhere. 
A great event is always taking place in the life of the per- 
sons who are participating in any religious ritual. In a fu- 
neral rite, that which is conspicuous for the mourners is 
the inmiediate reality of their bereavement. They have 
lost a relative, a friend. The mourning garments are 
symbols of an actual state of heart and will. The defer- 
ence shown to the dead might be shown in some other 
manner, but that other manner must needs be symbolical. 
A man going through the ceremony of taking holy orders 
is actually committing himself to a profession. To take 
part in the ceremony of becoming an Episcopalian clergy- 
man while being at heart a Roman Catholic or an Atheist, 
is to commit a deed of unutterable perfidy. The girl who 
goes through the ceremony of taking the veil as a nun 
is setting her life's destiny on the act. If she does it in- 
sincerely, she is wrecking both her character and her hap- 
piness. If she is forced into doing it, those instigating 
the coercion are committing a heinous crime. The little 
child baptized may never afterwards wholly escape from 
the moral and social effects of the fact that his parents and 



tiw piiest committed him to the Roman drthffHff or aone 
other commiiiuon. 

In the light of this terrible realism, one wmdos iMnr the 
esfxessions "mere ceremony," f'mere ritual," have oooie 
so generally into use. Who has ever seen such a thing as a 
mere ceremony or a mere ritual? For if there were sodi 
a thing as the word "mere" in^>]ie8, how amid the act be 
frau^t with fai-reaching and unesc^>able consequences? 
There are persons who ^wak lightly of the marrii^e oere- 
numy, as if it were a mere form and as if it could make no 
difference in the duties and responEobilities and the affectioii 
oi the woman towards the man, wheth^ she went through 
the marriage ceremony or not. Yet no woman ever defied 
this "mere ceremony," who forgot her defiance to the end 
of her days. There is no such thing as a mere ceremony 
of ritual ; for the moment it ceases to be an indispensable 
sign in the eyes of the community, it is not the sign at all. 

6. The Diference between Ritual and Acting 

Thus we see how absolutely mistaken is the judgment 
of those who associate elaborate church services with stage 
performances and theatrical displays. There are three 
fundamental distinctions which place a world-wide differ- 
ence between ritual and drama. In drama the actor only 
pretends to be the person he represents. In ritual he 
actually is the person. A man who was not a priest, were 
he to personate a priest in the periormance of the Mass, 
would expose himself to being stoned to death by the out- 
raged members of the Catholic communion. And he would 
deserve severe punishment. On the other hand, what 
could more outrage our sense of human dignity than that 
an actual cardinal of the Church of Rome should perso- 
nate a cardinal on the stage in a play of Shakespeare's ? 
How is it that we have this terrific sense of the incom- 


patdbility of ritual and drama, if there be anything essen- 
tially akin in the two? It violates every principle of 
dramatic art to attempt to attract the public by any kind 
of realism whereby the original persons should, so to speak, 
play their own parts. Even when contemporary events 
are depicted, in proportion as the drama respects itself, it 
preserves its method by which one person pretends to be 
another. In Miss Elizabeth Robins' recent play, entitled 
" Votes for Women,'' it might have been easy to draw larger 
crowds, and secure a longer nm of the play, if the original 
women conspicuous as "suffragettes" had themselves 
taken the chief parts in the performance. But they knew, 
and the writer of the play and its stage producer knew, that 
the play would have lost its entire force as a political 
pamphlet, if notoriety and success had been bought at 
this price. It is true that on the vaudeville stage persons 
conspicuous in real life sometimes exhibit themselves for 
money to the gaping crowds, but scarcely ever is there such 
lack of taste shown as that they should assume a part 
analogous to their own in real life. So there is no question 
here either of art or of ritual. 

The second of the three chief distinctions between 
ritual and drama is closely akin to the first. All the 
events on the stage must be a mere pretence. One can 
imagine that the "suffragettes" might have acted in " Votes 
for Women," and drawn the crowd, and yet the actual in- 
cidents in the play might have been purely fictitious. So a 
totally distinct characteristic of stage plays is that what hap- 
pens is understood not actually to be occurring. As a fact, 
nobody is dying, no one is stealing, no one's heart is breaking. 

In church ritual no deed done is at all a stage per- 
formance; it is the original. Not only are those who 
officiate actually, legally the persons holding the office 
which they seem to hold, but they are positively doing 
the things they seem to do. 


The third point of difference between ritual and the 
drama is that in the former all the materials used are exactly 
what they pretend to be. If it is not so, an offence is 
committed against the fundamental principle of ritual. 
It Is pennisBible that an actor on the stage ptxaamxiDg a 
monk and imitating the cdebratl<m of the Bfasa should 
wear a wig to produce the a^^ieanince of a tonsure. Bat 
we would resent it if in a diurch service a real priest, 
celebrating Mass, were to ^>pear in such a headgear. We 
require that his head shijl not only seem to be but 
shall be shaven. 

This principle of realism applies to alldie objects seen, 
b^;inning with the diurch itself. On a stage, for the 
purposes of a play, a cathedral may consist of a woodoi 
frame and painted canvas to imitate stone and arches. But 
the cathedral itself, where a ritual is performed, is actually 
built of stone shaped into arches. Any sort of made-up 
structure may serve for a pretended pulpit in a play ; but 
the pulpit in a church must be what it appears. Even the 
details of the dress must be made of the genuine stuffs and 
substances which they look to be. The embroideries, the 
gems, the gold are real embroideries, gems, and gold. Any 
mere tinsel is out of place ; whereas on the stage, for the 
actors to wear crowns really made of gold would be to 
distract instead of concentrating the attention upon the 
true art and nature of the performance. In a play on 
the stage, if a meal is represented, it is preferable, 
as art, that the bread and wine should not be real, and the 
people only seem to eat and drink. But it were a scandal 
in church to introduce substitutes in this manner. In 
Wagner's " Parsifal " there is a scene of the Communion of 
the Lord's Supper where the Holy Grail glows with a wine- 
like light of what seems the actual blood of Christ. It is 
far more impressive £is dramatic art, although we know the 
effect is due to a mechanical trick, than anything in any 


actual celebration of communion. But such a device in 
a real communion service would be blasphemy. 

Not only devout worshippers, but every other honest man 
would be horrified to hear that any celebrant of any religious 
service had in the least particular introduced any merely 
dramatic effect. It is important to bring home vividly this 
aspect of the realism of ritual. To do so, let me ask the 
reader to contrast a burial service upon the stage with a real 
burial service in a church. It is not only that in the latter 
the mourners are the real persons and the ceremony an 
actual deed of homage to the departed ; but his dead body is 
verily in the coffin. If one hears or knows that in the coffin 
on the stage there is nothing of the sort — it is empty or 
filled with stones — no offence is given. To introduce a 
real corpse on the stage would be — such a thing could not 
be. But suppose the whisper went through tJie congre- 
gation at a burial service that the coffin was empty, how 
could one explain the moral resentment which would be 
felt, except on the principle that ritual is never a mere 
formality? On the stage, without offence, we often see 
a woman carrying m her arms what purports to be an infant 
child, while we know that there is nothing of the sort there. 
But it is hard to conceive the consternation that would 
ensue, were the priest in church to discover that he was 
baptizing not a live baby, but a rag doll. Yet why, if 
ritual is even remotely akin to theatrical performance ? 

Perhaps, if we turn from religious to political ritual, 
we shall more keenly realize the imjust prejudice against 
ritual which inclines to dub it theatrical. Suppose Parlia- 
ment is to be opened by the King and Queen of England. 
It is unthinkable that any substitutes should be foimd to 
perform their parts. It is inconceivable that the ceremony 
should take place when there was not actually to be an 
opening of Parliament. It would be shocking to our 
sense of the dignity of the kingdom that the crowns worn 

shooM be g3t p^>er and the jewds paite. A pantomnne 
at Druiy I<ane is as far rtanoved from the ^le ct ad e at an 
actual n^al ceremony as is fiction fFom leali^ aad £aiu7 
from fact. An American who may have seen hundreds 
tA pretence kings and queens in theatres longs to aee t2ie 
real King and Queen of England, for there is a whale 
worid of difference betwem the theatrical and tiie oe»- 
nunlaL Yet the King and Queen are by ritual king and 
queca. They are outward and visible rigos of an Inmid 
Had qdritual aodal function and relation. 

7. RUual and Real lAfe 

I have said enough to prove that acts of ritual are deeds 
in real life. But how, then, do they differ from other 
deeds which are not ritual ? In the first place simply in 
this, that they are symbolical, and by means of arbitrary 
agreement effect mighty moral and social changes in the 
relations of individuals to the surroimding community. 
In ritual outside of religion, the difference between ordinary 
acts of life and ceremony is not so strikingly conspicuous, 
and the two blend in such a manner that we scarcely are 
aware when we pass from the one to the other. But 
religious ritual differs from the rest of life, ritualistic or not, 
by so much as religion differs from other spheres of human 
interest and activity. Now it is to be remembered that 
religion, as we have seen, deals with what are believed to 
be the supreme concerns of life. It is a turning of the 
attention to the ultimate source of life's highest blessings, 
in order to gain them. The dignity of religious ritual 
differs, then, from the dignity of political, commercial, 
or merely drawing-room ceremony by the superiority of 
the relations of which religion treats. Here, of a)urse, 
I assume that the persons participating believe in the worth 
of religion. But in cases where they do not, the same 


principle is illustrated. Their bitter hatred of religious 
forms and ceremonies cannot be because form and ceremony 
in itself is pernicious or is an empty nothing, but because 
they count the religion to be hostile to human interests. 
They dread the ends the religion has in view, and therefore 
they hate these potent means by which the ends are achieved. 
In the same way, those persons who do not hate but have a 
patronizing contempt for religious ritual simply transfer 
their contempt for religion to its forms. Such adverse 
critics, however, if they were logical and practical, would 
be compelled to concede that the vanity or the positive 
evil of religious ceremonial casts no discredit whatever 
upon ritual in general. 

8. Social Democratic Ritual 

I have given this elaborate analysis because, as it seems 
to me, ninety-nine persons out of a hundred who hold my 
fundamental views in regard to the principles of ethics, 
religion, and politics incline to disbelieve in ritual alto- 
gether. Having turned from the forms and ceremonies 
of supernatural religion, they are filled with horror at the 
very suggestion that the new ideas of naturalism, social 
democracy, and national idealism must concrete themselves 
"into a cultus, a fraternity, with assemblings and holydays, 
with song and book, with brick and stone." They fail 
to see that in order to coimteract the influence of Rome 
it is necessary to set up a ritual of Reason. They are not 
ashamed to declare a distaste for any and every sort of 
religious ceremonial. But in assuming such an attitude, 
if my analysis be correct, they are doing nothing less than 
refusing to naturalism, democracy, and national idealism 
a system of signs by which the deepest personal responsi- 
bilities of social life might be announced and established 
among the many. They are unwittingly robbing hu- 

manism of indispensable organs, and reducing it to the 
most beggarly and inarticulate means of actualizing its 
ideal throughout the community. 

Fortunately, these opponents of outward and visible 
signs of an inward and spiritual grace are not so ruthlessly 
logical as to abandon all use of human speech. They 
would permit persons who have discarded supernaturalism 
to reason and argue, and, if possible, be eloquent in public 
speeches, pamphlets, and books. But nobody must wear 
a garment which shall stand to the community as a sign 
that he who wears it is one who cqpudiates supernaturalism, 
miracles, presumptions of on aristocratic priesthood, and 
the like. Yet let us suppose that in New York or San 
Francisco alone there were five hundred men and wcmcn 
devoting their lives to the spread of democratic and 
naturalistic religion. Think what an easy means of propa- 
ganda it would be that these persons, wherever they went, 
should wear a dress as distinctive as that of the Salvation 
Army workers, with the words printed on their caps and 
bonnets, "Democracy in Religion," "The Religion of Social 
Justice " ! Such signs would challenge more attention than 
could be gained by a hundred times as much labour and cost 
in any other one direction. Suppose, too, that a person — 
the chosen speaker and preacher, let us say, of a democratic 
ethical church — should wear, when preaching, a robe 
selected and sanctioned by the society as the distinctive 
garb for its official preacher. Is it wrong to think that 
instantly at a meeting where the speaker wore such a 
symboUc dress, the impression made upon every attendant 
as to the earnestness and strength of conviction of the 
members of ethical societies would be a thousand times 
stronger than if the man merely appeared in his everyday 
clothes ? It must not be forgotten that even those every- 
day clothes are a symbol If he is a working-man. Us 
dress will betray it. If he is well-to-do, immediately. 


without his saying a word and without his wishing it, his 
dress shows his social position and suggests the size of his 
tailor's bill. These matters, taken at their least, are dis- 
tractions. A social-democratic preacher should appear not 
as a man of this or that birth or ancestry or family con- 
nection or means of livelihood, but simply as a teacher — 
as one enough respected to have been selected as a preacher 
of social duties and an inspirer of moral enthusiasms. 

The prejudice against so subordinate a sign in religious 
ritual as dress naturally extends its censure to the adoption 
of any conspicuous signs to indicate the great events of 
life from the point of view of social idealism. It would 
seem to me that the greatest service which any little group 
of ethical idealists could render in our times would be to 
concentrate themselves upon the elaboration of a ritual 
which would adequately express their new thought. 

In the past, religious ceremonies, being anti-democratic, 
imsdentific, and occult, have strangled liberty and intel- 
lectual honesty. They have overpowered the imagination 
of the people, and allured them into willing subjection to 
himian and superhiunan masters. But the worst of all 
their effects has been this imthinking and bitter hatred 
and distrust aroused in naturalists and democrats for any 
and every form of religious ritual. Until this distrust is 
removed, science and social democracy can never throw 
off princely and priestly domination and the superstitious 
authority of invisible agencies. Until a ritualistic religion 
be constructed on the basis of science and democracy, 
science and democracy will be almost exclusively confined 
to the domain of material wealth and politics. They will 
be occupied with the machinery instead of the d3aiamics 
of social justice. They will fail in the supreme art of 
generating the enthusiasm and guiding the loyalty of the 
masses of the people. 


9. Ritual and the Fine Arts 

I have attempted, as far as possible, to dissociate ritual 
from the fine arts, and have implied that the fine arts shall 
be introduced into it only in order that no aesthetic de- 
ficiency may offend the community and thus alienate 
minds highly cultivated In taste. But this problem of 
the relation of the fine arts to ritual is extremely complex, 
and therefore one aspect after another must be dealt with. 

In the first place, it is essential that a church service 
shall be conducted, as far as possible, by persons whose 
speech and bearing conform to the educational standards 
of the nation. 

As for singing and instrumental music in churdi services, 
they must never be primarily for aesthetic delight. The 
compositions must be restricted to that class which produce 
emotions akin to those produced by the ideals of social 
righteousness and by the responsibilities of social duty. 
Certain tone-compositions do undoubtedly arouse an 
enthusiasm or a dignified cahn allied to ethical moods. 
The Roman Catholic Church has rightly recognized of late 
the necessity of banishing from the Church services fonns 
of music which are not strictly subordinate to the aids 
which religion serves. It is conceivable that churches 
might give such beautiful secular mu^c that many would 
attend for the sesthetic treat; but they would thereby 
defeat their own end. Church music, however perfect, must 
be so subordinate to and so permeated with the church's 
dominating idea that it will inevitably direct attention to her 
principles and create an emotional state rec^tive and 
favourable to them. It should be so wiiming in its plea for 
that which is higher than itself that the ungodly will keep 
away in fear of being converted. 

Literary art in pubUc worship must always be the highest 
which the nation can procure, because true literaiy per- 


fection, meaning simplicity, directness, and dignity of 
speech, is always the most powerful means of reaching 
Uie ear and soul of the less educated. But it must never 
be forgotten that in a community where taste for it is not 
highly developed, mere literary style is by no means 
essential to the communication of ideas and principles of 
character. In childhood most persons learn the rules by 
which they live for the rest of their life from mothers and 
fathers who speak ungrammatically and whose utterances 
never pretend to assume the form of connected discourse. 
It is the veriest pedantry that would identify the power of 
preaching with eloquence or oratory as we know these in 
the art of Edmund Burke or of the famous speakers of 
classic antiquity. Almost incoherently a man may blunder 
out the message of Christianity, and yet its essence will 
not be lost nor fail of its work. 

Architecture as an element in ritual may be of the most 
primitive kind and yet powerfully effective. As the service 
is inside the building, the effect is almost entirely due to 
the interior. As the right proportions and colours of a room 
are independent of its exterior, isolated church edifices 
are altogether a costly extravagance, so far as concerns 
the spiritual atmosphere of the church service. With 
architecture, even more essential than its actual art- 
merit is the association of the building in the mind of the 
worshippers with the special objects and work of religion. 
Paintings and sculptures may assist mightily, but as symbols 
rather than as art, provided they give no aesthetic offence. 

By universal consent, ritual is more intimately identified, 
as we have seen, in the mind of the general public, with 
drama than with any other art. The reason is quite plain. 
Acting is a pretence of action; ritual is action. And 
generally it is action comparatively dignified, graceful, 
and effective. Acting also is symbolic action; unlike 
ritual, however, it symbolizes not some real change in 



sodal relation and function in tlie life of the actor himself, 
but 9iiiq>ly some onivoBal and g/auxti txuth <x priDdfde. 
Yet the fact that it is BymboSc action brings it Into doK 
line vtth the action of rituaL Now, the priest, ia oida 
to reach the altar or the pu^t, must walk, and in this he 
does the same kind oi thing that the actor must do to pass 
from one part of the stage to another; yet the ptieatfi 
act is no more acting in this case than is the movement 
of any human being fnmi one point to another wfaUher 
Ids social duty calls him. Hie priest must turn and apeak 
to the audience, and in a manner removed fr(»n ordmaiy 
conversation. Agdn, although he is not acting, what Iw 
does is parallel to the actor's art. The priest, addressing 
a whole assembly, naturally and rightly uses gesture more 
than would prevail in private conversation; and again 
he resembles the actor. He may lift his hands in bene- 
diction, he may make the sign of the Cross, he may kneel; 
again, action. And to the persons in the congregation 
who have never been in his position his actions assume 
a distinction not felt in those commonly done by every one. 
Inevitably, also, persons going through actions in the 
presence of a public assembly are compelled more or less 
to conventionalize their motions. They may not study 
for effect upon the congregation, and yet instinctively they 
will learn the art which the actor on the stage in the same 
way learns. 

Thus it comes about that, while ritual is actual life and 
the stage drama is not, nevertheless the actual life of 
ritual does become penetrated with the quaUties of all 
the fine arts. Ritual, indeed, as found in the most elabo- 
rated Church ceremonials, may contain a combinarion 
of all the arts which any stage could exhibit, and accord- 
ingly may produce the effects of drama without itself 
being drama. The real secret of its dignity and majesty 
will be its inward truth, its subjective realism, the fact 


that the actor is what he personates, that the deed is an 
actual event in the life of those who participate in it, and 
that all the drcnmstances of the occasion are in fact pre- 
cisely as they are set forth to be. This subjective kind 
of truth is so potent in enhancing beauty that in ritual 
a thousand accessories of the various arts may be lacking, 
coarse may be the materials that affront the eye, defective 
the proportions of the building, harsh the voices of the 
ministrant and the singers, awkward the postures and 
gestures of the celebrants — all these details falling far 
below the trappings of the stage — and yet 

how much more doth beauty beauteous seem 
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give I 

In ritual we become aware that art and life together are 
more than art alone. 

In the light of the foregoing analysis it will be seen 
that any person errs egregiously who says that those who 
are natiuralistic in religion can never hope to elaborate a 
ritual splendid enough to compete with the stained-glass 
windows, the organs and orchestras, the variegated marbles, 
the embroidered and bedizened vestments, and the "long- 
drawn aisle and fretted vault," such as allure the senses 
in the scenes of Catholic ceremony; and that therefore 
they ought not to attempt to construct and practise a 
ritual which shall embody their own ideas. It is a mis- 
take for a humanistic democrat to think: "When we want 
the strength and comfort of ritual, let us go to Roman 
cathedrals or Anglican abbeys; but when we are true to 
oiu: own religious principles, let it suffice us to argue and 
debate and make speeches." 

To do the latter is quite wise, and to abstain from a 
ritual of our own may perhaps be temporarily thrust upon 
us by circumstances. But that those who have discarded 
supernaturalism should enter sympathetically into a ritual 



which must be interpreted supematuralistically or have no 
significance at all, is a moral and psychological impos- 
sibility. If the spectator of a Catholic ritual has no faith 
in supernatural agencies, all its mere art sinks infinitely 
below the level of a good play on the stage. For in a 
good play what is represented is always human nature, 
the besieging realities of everyday suffering and hope, 
human principles and human ideals. The art of the 
theatre is good when it is true to Ufe in general. But 
of what universal reality is the Catholic ritual, as it is 
interpreted by the supematuralist in religion, a sign and 
token to the naturalist ? Of nothing. The practice of the 
Mass, to have any meaning, must be interpreted as the 
outward sign of an inward and spiritual grace which is 
being communicated from a supernatural source. Now 
if a man has with a whole soul's protest abandoned com- 
munion with any supernatural agents whatsoever, how 
can he yield himself for spiritual strength and solace to a 
sign to him signifying nothing ? In proportion, therefore, 
as through the Roman ritual his senses are stormed by 
the idea which underlies it, his whole spirit must rise up 
in armed defence, as to beat off a ghostly enemy. Suppose 
a man's whole life is animated by the principle embodied 
in Emerson's injunction, "Trust thyself!" how can he 
yield his mind to a ritual which insinuates into the very 
arteries and tissues of the devotee an absolute moral self- 
distrust ? All that the believer in democracy and the law 
of cause and effect counts a spiritual menace is transformed 
by Rome into loveliness and majestic mien. If he submits 
to it, it stands smiling before his eyes, it sings blinding sweet 
into his ear, exhales fragrance into the air he breathes, 
until, soothed into oblivion of his moral selfhood, he falls 
entranced and is henceforth Rome's, to do with as she wills. 
Behold what power an idea, although an enemy to know- 
ledge and spiritual self-control, may have over us when it 



is concreted into a cultus, if only we axe unwary enough to 
submit to it ! 

Unless fully convinced that that which it symbolizes is 
the very life of life, no one except a degenerate would 
yield his senses to any ritual. To participate in a ritual 
for enjoyment's sake or for beauty's sake disintegrates the 
mental fibre. To amuse oneself with ritual is to play with 
fire. Only when that which the ritual bodies forth is 
believed to be the source of life, and therefore is accepted 
by a man as his redemption and his God, does it make him 
manly. Then it renders him invincible. It renders more 
real, powerful, vivid, and intimate than appetite the sacrifice 
of self for the good of all. 

Such being the psychology of ritual, it follows inevi- 
tably that to a democratic and scientifically trained mind 
the meagrest beginnings of a ritual consonant with his 
principles would have more meaning and communicate 
more strength and peace than the most beautiful ritual 
conceivable, the principles of which he counted false and 
pernicious. If the thing it signifies is worse than nothing, 
no incidental accompaniments lent by the fine arts can 
give it vigour. The persons who do not believe in super- 
naturalism and yet are allured are only those who do not 
believe in anything, and have no idealistic convictions. 
Such are the lovers of art for art's sake instead of for life's 


seuocraik: tobhs or fubuc wcasaa 
X. SynMism 

Ik another sense than that which I have dwdt iqMV, 
there is a kinahq> b^ween the fine arts and ritnaL Ibe 
fine arts themselves are not sin^ily embedments a< paie 
and universal beauty. Indeed, there are yrhxAt adumb ot 

artists and philosophers of art who maintain that the 
essence of art is not the beautiful in the sense of a form 
perfect in itself, a manifold variety of parts unified by 
some inherent principle within them all — a flower is 
beautiful in itself, a sunset, a landscape is beautiful within 
itself, a human face and the human form may be beautiful 
in this way ; but there is aiso such a thing as the ezpres^cm 
of a meaning which transcends the form itself. A form 
may point to a unity and variety beyond itself. A human 
face not beautiful in form may be expressive of a type of 
character transcendently beautiful and harmonious in 
itself. There is an irradiation of the soul from within, 
which transfigures faces by no means comely in themselves. 
Such a face is, as it were, an outward and visible sign of 
an inward and spiritual grace, and not the revelation of 
a charm of its own, as is the case with absolute and perfect 
beauty. The pxirely artistic sense of beauty rests in the 
self-revelation of the concrete object presented in colour 
before the eye, or in tone-structure through the ear. But 
an artist may be more than an artist ; without degrading 
his art he may add to this pure beauty an extra charm, 
in that the outward form becomes a sign of a moral meaning. 


A public fax from appreciating pure beauty may be 
swayed and moved to admiration by every hint of Ugher 
meaning. Thus it comes about that symbolism is rife in 
certain schools of art; and in so far their art is allied to 
ritual. Signs are chosen of which they know the public 
will xmderstand the inner meaning. They know that the 
mind of the beholder will instantly pass from the sign to 
the meaning, and that the meaning once astir in his mind 
will arouse all the emotions with which it has hitherto been 
associated. Artists thus appeal to the patriotic emotions, 
to reverence for children, to respect for motherhood, to 
admiration for martyrs. What is called the literary value 
of a picture is often the only element conmiendable in it. 
And yet, to the indignation of the pure artist, it may be 
so powerful that the community mistake it for beautiful. 
Take an object with no beauty of form, like the American 
Stars and Stripes ; yet even men of the most disciplined 
judgment in the moment of patriotic emotion will find it 
a blessing to the eye. 

Religious symbolism is in so far art as the mere use of 
an outward act, or colour or shape of any object arbitrarily 
selected to stand for some invisible reality, may be called 
art. And many do so call it, but possibly to the detri- 
ment of art and to the concealment of the real nature 
and power of ritual. Not to call symbolism art is not 
to deny its astonishing hold upon the imagination, and 
through it upon the intellect, the emotions, and the will. 
This effect of ritual is incalculably great. And if the 
thing symbolized is a thing to which we coimt it well that 
a man should turn his admiring attention, because the 
eflFect upon him is beneficent, we are grateful for the 
instrumentality which achieves it. But if the effect is 
one we deplore, we hate the means. The power of ritual, 
however, is undeniable. "The effect," says Mr. Lowes 
Dickinson in his essay entitled *^ Religion : A Criticism and 


a Forecast," " even of a ritual which we do not understaod, 
or one with the intellectual basis of which we are out of 
touch, may be immense upon a sensitive spirit. How much 
more that of one which should really and adequately express 
our conviction and feeling about life and the world ! For 
those who can accept the Christian view, the Christian 
ritual must be their most precious po^ession ; but for 
those who cannot — and they are, as I think, an increasing 
nimiber of not the least religious souls -— their lack oi 
intellectual assent to the faith weakens or even nullifies 
the effect of the symbol. And if, as I think will be the case, 
the men in whom the religious instinct is strongest move 
farther and farther from the Christian postulates, a ritual 
which shall express their new attitude will become, perh^>s 
is already, one of their chief spiritual needs." 

Unlucldly for the new humanism, very few of those 
who accept its postulates, however much they need a 
ritual which shall express their new attitude, consciously 
want it. It would seem that with most of them the 
exclusive association of ritual with ideas they cotmt 
pernicious will never be removed until they actually have 
an object-lesson in the new ritual. Hence the necesaty 
that the pioneers of that reUgion which Mr. Lowes 
Dickinson forecasts should group themselves together 
and establish assemblings with song and book, with bride 
and stone. The world must receive ocular and oral 
demonstration, before it will believe that the new attitude 
can be made concrete to the senses. 

2. Through the Senses 

It is a little strange that persons who boast themselves 
free to think upon religious subjects should entertain a 
horror of ritual on the ground that it charms the senses. 
In the first place, why should the senses not be charmed ? 


Can we afford to leave them to be corrupted by un- 
scrupulous, unpatriotic, money-making syndicates who 
pander to the senses instead of purifying them? Or 
shall we become rank puritans, who not only want no 
beauty in outward form, but would banish even symbolic 
expressions of inward meanings? When we remember 
what symbolism is, furthermore, we shall realize that the 
appeal is never to the senses, but only through them. 
Further be it remembered, that all the wiser, more 
efficient, and humane methods of education embody the 
principle of communicating abstract ideas through signs, 
sjonbols, and associations which through the senses suggest 
the unseen. 

Probably imderlying the strong opposition of rational- 
istic religionists to ritual is the notion that any appeal to 
the senses is not quite fair and honest. An appeal should 
be made only to the reason and judgment of a man whom 
one is attempting to convert and to interest in any system 
of religion. '*If you allure through the senses,'' it is asked, 
"have you not abandoned the fundamental principle of 
rationalism, and resorted to the very means which have 
caused the revolt of men of intellectual integrity against 
the old cults? Yet now you come in with a new 
appeal to the senses. You hope to win men by indirect 
methods. You mean to attach them by extraneous and 
adventitious associations of ideas, instead of by convincing 
them of the truth of your position. You mean to draw 
men by the cords not of reason, but of emotion, senti- 
ment, and possibly even of self-interest or family attach- 
ment or patriotic prejudice. You mean to commit a 
man first, and then convince him ; whereas the rationalist 
would convince him first, and then there would be no 
occasion for any systematic effort to commit him." 

In meeting this position one notices, in the first place, 
that it is inspired by a radical suspicion and distrust of a 



man's whole psychological make-up, except in so far as 
he is a logical thinker. It emaiiates £rom the presuppo^- 
tioti that eveiy man must beware not aafy oi the crafts 
and asaaults of priests and f asctnatiiig demagogues, but 
of his own eyes and eais, of the very laws of aaaocUtiaD 
of ideas by .which the child-mind constructs the <**««"■ of 
primal seosatioDS into the beauty, order, and mwuiing oi 
a rational cosmos within the forms of ^Htce and tiiDe. 
For the first three years of a child's life the power to 
think logically is not only not seU-consdous, it is not 
even regulative. The confused materials of the sensations 
of touch and sig^t and sound build themselves iq> into 
windows, chairs, and human faces solely by means of 
frequency of repetition of appearance in the same associa- 
tions. No psychologist denies that it is by seeing a 
certain shape and o^lour often together and then by 
seeing the colour sometimes with another shape and size, 
that the child learns to discriminate colour from shape 
and size. This process is not logical. It is not ratiooaL 
There is no question of self-contradiction, although, of 
course, there is on the other hand no violation of the 
laws of identity and of difference. There is no question 
as to whether the 5ha[}es, colours, and sizes tally with 
an outside universe or violate some system of abstract 
thought. We further note that in the child's mind the 
objects which it grows to discern as distinct and con- 
nected become to it also, at the same time, symbob. 
Scarcely does the mother's face pass from the stage of an 
undiscemed sensation into a distinct perception, but, 
thanks to the law of association, the child takes a 
reappearance of that face in perception as an outward 
and visible sign of the veritable presence of that other 
reality from which emanate tender care, relief from pain, 
and the agreeable sensations which the child welcomes. 
Now, can any rationalist who accepts this psycholo^cal 


process as legitimate in a child find any possible ground 
for his intense distrust of it in the grown-up man? At 
what age of adolescence must this process be checked? 
And if it be not pernicious in youth, but, on the contrary, 
the very prerequisite of all rationality, how and why 
does it suddenly lose its beneficence and begin to destroy 
the very framework and constitution of the rational imi- 
verse which itself has made, and which reason, after it 
has appeared, sanctions as altogether good ? 

What does the ritualist do but imitate that psycho- 
logical process to which all naturally gifted teachers and 
all trained experts in education and all philosophic 
pedagogists turn as the very model and ideal for the 
teacher's conscious art? For instance, the rationalistic 
ritualist would say to himself, "In order that a man by 
the age of twenty-one shall see the full rationality of 
ethical idealism, I must begin with him when he is only 
five years of age to tell him stories which will interest 
him quite irrespectively of their ultimate significance in a 
scheme of religious thought arid yet will at the same time 
illustrate the principles of that thought. But I must tell 
him such stories not only once a year or once in six 
months, but every week, and repeat them and have him 
repeat them. I must draw incidents from history, I 
must search out analogies in physical nature. Thus years 
before he can think for himself on abstract questions, he 
will have been receiving the material, and that material 
more or less prearranged, which will make it easy for 
him to judge for himself years afterwards." But the 
rationalistic ritualist will also say, **I want the child's 
mind to associate a particular building and a particular 
room with the religion which I mean to teach him, so 
that whenever he thinks of this religion a mental image 
of the room, its size and colour and arrangements of 
furniture, shall appear in his mind. All the sensations 


and emotions associated with that room must be agree- 
able; unpleasant associations would make the man in 
later years turn from the idea, for memories would recall 
sensations and emotions from which he shrinks instinctively. 
He must never be forced by threats of punishment to go to 
the room which is to be identified m his mind with rational 
religion. When he comes, he must not be compelled to 
stay longer for a lesson or any systematic work than a child's 
nature can well endure. The room must not be so cold 
as to chill the child ; else this physical shrinking will ex- 
tend even to the thought of what is taught in the room. 
The people present must be kindly, loving, considerate, 
and deferential to the child's individuality." And as 
children love to sing, the ritualist will teach him songs 
embodying humanistic sentiments, perfectly sxire that the 
melodies will flow into his mind years afterwards, bearing 
the words and the words bearing the meaning of the roes- 
sage which the child a>uld not fully comprehend. And the 
lights of the room must be bright — and yet not too 
bright. In short, the place must be like a home; and 
every one knows how a mother and father instinctively, 
if they are able, provide the comforts which shall make 
the home physically attractive to every inmate. Indeed, 
what is a home but a place of comfort and welcome for 
body and mind ? So tiie ritualist would go on, putting 
books into the hands of the child which would lead his 
thought to those great factors in life which the teacher 
believes ultimately the child will acknowledge as deserving 
supreme reverence and devotion. The humanistic ritualist 
will not discard any agreeable if iimocent association of 
the senses or affections, which might attach the child 
ultimately to the principles of reason. 

Now this method, merely as method, is exactly the same 
as that of Roman Catholic and other ritualists, who 
have no faith in reason whatever, but fall back upon am- 



ventional tradition. Yet there is a world-wide diflFerence 
in the thing taught and the effect on the child 's will. There 
is an absolute antagonism between the rationalistic and the 
non-rationalistic ritualist, for the latter means never to 
appeal to reason. He trusts wholly to associations and 
indirect attachments. He knows how well-nigh impossible 
it is for most persons at the age of thirty to throw off the 
mere outward associations of a lifetime. He knows fur- 
ther that, there being no principle of reason at the heart of 
all the associations which he has been systematically ar- 
ranging in children's experience, their power to think for 
themselves will never enable them to discover any law of 
rationality in the reUgion given to them. But, still 
further, he knows that the craving for rationality, not 
having been stimulated through the growing Ufetime of 
the mind, will have almost died at the root. 

What, however, is the position of the humanistic ritu- 
alist ? Every year of his pupil's life progressively, from the 
2Lge of five on, he will have been maUng more frequent and 
profound appeals to the moral and scientific judgment 
of the child. He will be passing continually from the 
concrete to the abstract. But always at each step he 
will be guiding and challenging the child to judge for 
himself of what is right and what is wrong, of what 
is verifiable truth and what is imfoxmded prejudice; 
tmtil finally, at the age of eighteen or twenty, the child 
will have been brought to a height of judgment from 
which he can survey the widest fields of speculative 
thought and of moral responsibility. But when the 
pupil attains this point, all the pleasant associations, all 
the lovable and tender memories of his lifetime will re- 
enforce his judgment and his reason. He will not suffer 
the painful discovery that the treasure of his heart lies in 
one direction and the responsibility of duty and integrity 
in another. He will rejoice in finding out that the principles 



which his own judgment now accepts as right and true h 
from the first been the providential laws which regula 
the full and varied interests of his life from the first. 

Is it fair to say that humanistic ritual betrays rea 
by alluring the senses? Does not the word "aJlo: 
itself beg the question by implying that the senses 
so appealed to as to oppose reason P 

It must be remembered that many things wrhich 
not reason are nevertheless not against reason. ] 
instance, the processes of association, the affections, 
craving for agreeable sensations in the child and ' 
man, the love of the approbation of others — these are 1 
the love of a system of thought without contradicti 
these are not the craving to reduce all phenomena 
unity ; but nevertheless they are not against rea& 
It is quite possible that a man is only one per ce 
reason, and that the other ninety- nine parts of fa 
consist of processes and cravings of a totally diffen 
kind. If so, what narrowness and inhuman bigotry 
is to appeal solely to a child's power to think ! Ma 
rationalists make the preposterous blunder, in speakJ 
of appealing to reason, of forgetting that one mi 
always appeal also to sensations, experiences, perc« 
tions, emotions, and volitions as the material which teas 
is to explain. To think that a child can spin a true rt 
gion out of his reason, unrelated to the experience of m 
throughout history and to the extra-rational parts of mai 
nature, is a more preposterous superstition than to t: 
back wholly upon tradition and an external rei'elatio 
For reason with no material of experience to work up ai 
to classify is absolutely empty and void. 

Not simply in reference to a child is it foolish to trust 
reason alone without a mass of friendly associated idea 
it is downright madness of policy to expect to overthn 
by an appeal merely to reason the entrenched prejudic 



which for twenty-five years have been systematically 
built up in the mind of an adult. What is the use of try- 
ing to convince a man that his religion is irrational when 
he does not care whether it be rational or not, when he has 
never been trained from his youth to respect the rational 
and his capacity both to judge and to respect it has become 
atrophied ? Suppose, however, one does wish to bring more 
rational views of religion to the mind of a man trained to 
believe in the authority of priest and book as final. What 
is the only possible and the only legitimate method? It 
may be late in the day to begin, but even at the age of 
forty, if a man is to be drawn away from a false system of 
religion, he must be drawn — in proportion as he has little 
capacity and in order to develop his capacity for rationality 
— by bringing about in his mind new agreeable associa- 
tions with those principles of which he has scarcely heard. 
He may meet by chance a man of the tjrpe of manners and 
character that he has always loved and respected ; then, 
if he incidentally hears that the man is a humanist, in- 
stantly the whole of his attachment to that person will 
move out in friendly anticipation to the new ideas. He 
will want to know more of them. He is already, if not pre- 
judiced in their favour, sympathetically curious to be in- 
formed. His mind is open. Nothing imder heaven could 
have made him receptive but a preliminary indirect attach- 
ment of this sort. He is astonished, for he had supposed 
that only persons socially '* impossible'* ever entertained 
unorthodox views of religion. He already has discovered 
one error, and he says to himself, "Perhaps the ideas 
themselves are no less admirable than the man who enter- 
tains them." 

Or suppose it is a question as to what sort of meeting- 
place humanists will choose for the presentation of their 
ideas and how the meeting shall be conducted. From 
the point of view of the rigorous anti-ritualist and jealous 


deifier of reason, it will make no difference in what sort 
room the meeting is to be held, or whether the speaker i 
good English or violate all the conventional canons 
speech, or whether in debate he show deference to oth( 
or not. 

But the ritualist will say that because of the power of t 
association of ideas no one of these adventitious drnu 
stances should be allowed to give offence, and that eve 
particular object or event or circumstance that can be us 
as an outward sign to signify the real character of t 
new idealism shall be appropriated and used. Indeed, 
humanistic rationalist himself, if he be a ritualist, will det 
cate not only his reasoning, but all his other powers to tl 
service of reason. He will be not only ready to give t: 
time and risk his reputation and sulTcr ostracism, but 1 
will resort to less heroic forms of sacriiice. He will dec 
cate all the minor incidents of life so that they shall m 
occasion unnecessary offence or prejudice. 

I have dwelt thus long upon the prejudice again 
ritual entertained by persons who hold fundament 
principles like my own, because nearly all the men an 
women of taste who abandon the old interpretations of rel 
gion, upon ceasing to attend church, never dream of tl 
possibility of entering into fellowship with others of the 
own newer belief. Yet the reason for this shrinking froi 
new rehgious cofiperation is almost wholly due to a drea 
of the crudities in methods of propaganda, and of the ovei 
emphasis of mere 1 -gical appeals to reason, which have pn 
vailed among those who, coming out of the old churche 
have set up new centres of propaganda. 

There is another and profounder reason for the publJ 
celebration of a humanistic ritual. The real enemy c 
the idealistic humanist, as I have pointed out in an earlie 
chapter, is not, after all, the supematuralistic religionist 
It is the same enemy which, from the first, Christianity an 



Judaism themselves have been fighting : the world, which 
accepts selfishness as the regulative principle of con- 
duct. I recur to this fact again, in order to bring it into 
connection with the psychological principle of the associa- 
tion of ideas. The child from the age of five, besides any 
association built up by his religious teachers, is constantly, 
by his meeting with all sorts and conditions of people and 
by all sorts and conditions of accidental experience and 
observation, forming associations which allure him towards 
the practices of lying, physical self-indulgence, and love of 
power and display. If great care be not taken, by the 
time he is twenty-one years of age he will have been com- 
mitted, by a thousand habits and desires and by the ex- 
pectations of others, to a life of shrewd, systematic 
service of himself at the expense of others. One need 
not even cite the case of the still lower order of intelligences 
where the self-seeking and self-gratification are neither 
shrewd nor far-sighted, but the character is marked by an 
effeminate and weak yielding to momentary impulse. In 
either case the moral calamity has come about by a 
gradual association of ideas which committed the whole 
mind to one or the other form of pleasing oneself without 
consideration of others. How, I ask, can an appeal to 
reason imsupplemented by an elaborated scheme of 
coimteracting associations ever rescue such individuals 
and the society into which they are bom from the calamity 
of moral downfall? Ethical ritual, then, really means 
moral propaganda by methods which a knowledge of 
psychological processes suggests to every teacher. 

3. Ethical Ceremony 

But deep and radical is the ordinary rationalist's opposi- 
tion to outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual 
grace, even if that grace be the idealism of reason itself. 


It is maintained among all who oppose ritual, but chiefly 
by its extremest opponents, the rationalists, that through- 
out the history of religious organizations ceremonial 
has been at enmity with the ethical tendency, and has 
often extinguished it. This opposition is to be met by 
challenging both psychologically and historically the truth 
of the statemoit that ceremoniai in itaelf tends to thetk 
the ethical element in relig^. Of couise, it goes with- 
out saying that an immoral cereBomBl will not have 
moral effects, but the very c^^xxdte. It also goes without 
saying that a non-moral ceremonial will have not nuxal 
effects, but again a very opposite. F<a the ethical has 
two <^podtes, the unethical and the non-ethical; and 
of the two, in the actual history of society and of each 
individual mind, the non-ethical is, as a fact, a greater 
enemy to the positively ethical than is actual self-consciotis 
wickedness. The diabolically bad is a comparatively 
small factor in human life compared to apathy, indifference, 
preoccupation, interest in the things of the smses and 
of worWly prosperity. Yet, surely, in considering whether 
ceremonial religion be antagonistic to ethical religion, we 
must bar out ceremonials non-ethical and anti-ethical, 
and ask only whether an ethical religion which resorts 
to ritual as a means of communicating its principles and 
enthusiasm is in danger of a suicidal absorption in the 
details of the ceremonial. Is an ethical religion which 
resorts to outward signs apt to forget the things signified, 
in its attention to the efficiency of the signs? If it did 
absorb its attention in the signs so as to make them ex- 
quisitely perfect in efficiency, could such a development 
of symbolism obscure the very grace it was meant to 
symbolize? Or would the effort to make the signs 
supremely efficient somehow degenerate without knowing 
it into making them inefficient? My contention is that 
there are no psychological processes known to us which 



would justify our fearing that an ethical ceremonial would 
so absorb the interest of teachers and preachers and 
organizers of the ethical life as to induce them to forget 
the ethical life or to sacrifice it to the ceremonial. 

Even if we admitted that all the ceremonials of the 
past and present did and do militate against the interests 
of ethical life, we should have also to concede that the 
grace signified by these ceremonials was not social, 
not humanistic, not naturalistic. A supematuraUstic 
ceremonial diverts men from social responsibility and 
thus injures the ethical life; yet not because it is 
ceremonial, but because it is supematuraUstic. In such 
a ritual the personal agents propitiated are not one's 
fellow human beings, but agents without human bodies, 
agents not recognized by the law, agents who are not 
subjects of rights and privileges, and who cannot be 
punished by public opinion and the criminal law, agents 
who cannot be made legislators, administrators, or judges. 
The opponents of ceremonial must point to a purely 
ethical ritual and show that the ritual has had an \m- 
ethical or non-ethical effect. But that would be very 
diflScult to prove. When such an effect is shown, the 
ceremonial is proved not to have been what at the outset 
it was assimied to be. 

With the spiritistic rituals of the churches of the past 
one must contrast a humanistic, sodal, naturalistic ritual. 
And one must not attribute to ritual in itself any evil 
effect which can be traced directly to the spiritistic presup- 
positions out of which it has grown. 

But to be just to the rituals of Judaism and Christianity, 
we must admit that they are essentially ethical rituals. 
The real problem before us is not Jewish and Christian 
versus ethical ; the problem is to decide between two ethical 
rituals, the one spiritistic and the other socialistic. 

Judaism and Christianity have hitherto been spiritistic 



ethical religions. They are, as I believe, vitiated to a great 
extent by their spiritism. But despite these vitiating 
elements they are superbly ethical. The result is that 
their rituals are relatively very great and good ; and, as 
compared with no ritual and no ethical religion, they 
are infinitely precious. What is more, when we turn 
to the facts of Jewish and Christian church discipline, 
a comparison o.f the more and the less ritualistic com- 
munions by no means confirms the statement that 
ritual militates against the ethical life. On the con- 
trary, where there is most ritual there is often the 
most intense ethical enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. It is 
true that the spiritistic element increases in efficiency with 
the ritual; but the ethical element increases proportion- 
ately and holds its own against the non-ethical and anti- 
ethical effects of the spiritistic error. We find, for 
instance, in England that the High Churchmen who seem 
to spend a great proportion of time and thought upon 
details of ritual are as a direct effect of that ceremonial 
so heightened in enthusiasm of self-sacrifice for the poor 
that they stand an object of moral admiration to persons 
of all religions and of no religion. It must be further 
remembered that the Roman Catholic Church by its very 
ritual has created such domination and ascendency of the 
idea of sacrifice for the poor that it stands to this hour 
preeminent for its charities, its consolations to the lonely 
and the suffering, and its attention to the education of 
its children. What we do find is the aloofness both of 
Protestant churches and of the Roman Catholic conMnunion 
from national and municipal politics, from the modem 
interests of science and art, and from the whole move- 
ment of women and the working people for economic 
emancipation. But the spiritism at the heart of Christian 
dogma as it has hitherto been interpreted is quite enough 
to account for this aloofness. The trust of Christianity 



has thus far been in supernatural agencies, outside the 
political organism. Its supreme interest for a thousand 
years has been in a world beyond death. The fact that 
despite this moral aberration it still has been so intensely 
ethical in its discipline upon the human soul is one of 
the strongest proofs that notwithstanding its dogma its 
supreme passion was human righteousness. Even within 
the sphere of individual ethics we see the adverse in- 
fluence of its spiritism. This spiritism, not being veri- 
fiable in experience, has caused the churches, if not posi- 
tively to discourage, at least to overlook the claims of 
intellectual honesty and of bold, free investigation of 
truth. But the ritualism is in no wise to blame for 
these deficiencies. 

When we investigate the ceremonial and ethical aspects 
of Judaism, we find that the ceremonial has been a tre- 
mendous aid to the moral character of the Jews and a 
strengthening of the Jewish people such as has made it 
a two thousand years' wonder to all the other races of the 
world. We must remember that the Temple service as 
illustrated in the Psalms was that of the second Temple. 
The people had lost their political independence. The 
ruling classes had been banished for seventy years in the 
Babylonian Exile. There the greatest of the ethical 
prophets, Ezekiel, not excelled by Isaiah in moral 
insight and passion, was statesman enough to see that 
with the political independence gone, a psychological 
substitute must be foimd which would focus the people's 
hope and confidence upon those lines of conduct which 
in the end lead to national independence and prosperity. 
He hit upon the notion of a splendid Temple ritual as 
the means of focussing steadfastly and reverently the 
whole people's heart upon the supreme means of the ulti- 
mate blessings of life. It was ritual, it was ceremonial, 
it was a system of signs for inward and ethical tribal grace, 


that kept tbe Jews fiom 432 b.c. until 70 ajo. £rom loang 
their national idealism, and has preserved tbem to this 
day not without hope, and now at last has brought the es- 
tablishment of a Jewish kingdom nearer to the domain of 
practical politics than it has been for two thousand yeais. 

4. Good Deeds and PiMic Worship 

Take the elements of ceremonial as contrasted with the 
ethical life of social justice. A cerenumial that aims at 
social justice cannot but prove the most powerful aUy con- 
ceivable of the teadung and preaching of morality, of dis- 
cipline, of the sanction of public opinion, and of th^ moral 
atmosphere of a community where social justice is practised 
and illustrated. 

Ceremonial religion involves the keeping of holydays, 
because the community must agree upon times of 
ceremonial worship. Now in modem life one of the 
greatest questions dividing the ordinary rationalist from 
the traditionalist in religion is this one of keeping the 
Sabbath Day holy. Says the rationalist, "All days are 
holy." Says the traditional ritualist, "Sunday must be 
kept sacred to religion irrespective of reasons of social 
expediency." But now comes into the argument the 
humanistic ritualist. He maintains that one day in 
seven is needed for ethical meditation, concentration, and 
conunitment ; that a day must be set apart and kept holy, 
guarded against the inroads and encroachments of sport 
and athletics, art, and mere intellectual science. Is it 
conceivable that a whole nation devoting one day in 
seven to the problems and principles and policy of social 
justice should not thereby advance ethically in ten years 
to a moral stage which otherwise they could scarcely 
attain in a hundred years? An ethical Sabbath woidd 
be the most powerful moral asset conceivable for a nation 


if its ethics were based upon science and social democracy 
instead of upon unverifiable dogmas devised to secure 
trust in invisible agencies beyond society. • 

And when you have secured the ethical holyday there 
must be the assemblings. In these assemblies every 
available sign must be utilized to make real in presence 
and power the claims of the national ideal. There must 
be song and book. And the necessity of housing the 
multitudes means a temple building. 

A disproof of the utility of an ethical ritual would 
require a demonstration that a nation's attention can be 
fixed upon the ends and means of social justice without 
influencing politics. Or, if not this, it will require a 
demonstration that men and women will be as ethical 
if they do not pay attention to the means and ends of 
social justice as if they do. But neither of these atti- 
tudes can be defended. Grown men will not spontaneously 
attend even so much as children to the claims of social 
justice, unless their minds be systematically turned thereto. 
Nor is there any evidence to justify the belief that people 
would do right if the right were never taught them. 

The senses of every human being are constantly soli- 
cited by objects which in close proximity would gratify 
instincts and impulses. These objects, presenting them- 
selves to the senses, carry with them an overpowering 
feeling of their reality. 

The problem of the ethical teacher is, how to give a cor- 
responding impression of reality to the claims of Duty, 
the invisible Laws of the universe, and the Ideals and Visions 
of a perfect order of society. How can these be made as 
present and immediate as the visible and audible world 
of the senses? There is only one way. If their reality 
is to be brought home to people, and their force is to 
become dominant and to master appetites, ambitions, and 
vanities, we must find outward, visible, and audible signs 


whichy by the law of association^ suggest powerfully to the 
imagination their presence and reality. 

The universal, the ideal, the moral order, the state of 
things which ought to be but is not yet, the great ends of 
society — all these, prefigured in the constitution of man, 
but not actualized in his daily life and institutions, can be 
by means of outward signs so vividly sugg^ted as to create 
a mystic sense of their real presence. 

It is the function of symbolism, througih the eye^ the ear, 
and the other senses, thus to bring home the reality of the 
supersensible world, i.e. the world of ideals, of principles, 
of types and tendencies, of universal Goncq>tions of human- 
ity, of visions of the perfect dty, the true State and the 
honest man. 

If these did not possess by divine right validity and neces- 
sity and binding power, it would be an unpardonable play- 
ing with the mind of another to create such an impression 
by ritual. It would be scarcely less than black art to at- 
tempt by some outward and palpable sign to secure for them 
the sense of reality. But according to reason and in the 
moral judgment these supersensible things are the supreme 

Were we not deceived and ensnared by the false claims 
of objects which obtrude themselves upon the senses by 
appealing to purely physical instincts and impulses, we 
should never for a moment doubt the reality of the funda- 
mental order of nature and the universal principles and 
standards of right reason. But because of the obtrusive- 
ness of objects of the senses and because of the devices and 
intrigues of cunning and unscrupulous human beings, 
every man is in danger of forgetting the claims of duty 
and the remote consequences of present deeds. 

To bring the future as powerfully before the mind as is 
the present, to obtrude the claims of persons unknown as 
intensely as those obtrude their own who clamour upon their 


knees before us — to do this is impossible except as the fu- 
ture, the absent, the invisible, the supersensible, the moral 
order are represented by signs or counters or marks which 
will not let us forget that they stand before our very eyes 
and ears as the proxies of those realities which are invisible. 

The power and claim of what we aspire to be in our mo- 
ments of selfless meditation are apt to be overlooked by the 
busy, the inexperienced, the thoughtless, the perplexed. 
Only ethical symbolism can find for the supersensible order 
a foothold in the world of sense upon which it may plead 
for the higher ends of life. 

But there is still another form which the objection to 
ritual assumes in the minds of those who have turned 
away from supematuralistic ceremonials. These persons 
are apt to retort, not without great plausibiUty: "What 
need has an ethical idealism for outward signs? Let 
every deed of our daily conduct speak for our religion. Let 
our deeds testify to our principles. For those whose 
religion is a cult of the supernatural, there may be 
occasion for symbolic acts, like the making of the sign 
of the Cross in the air, like the partaking of a meal that 
is not a real meal, and the like ; but for us whose religion 
is ethical, not a minute of the day passes that does not 
give us a chance of illustrating the ideas by which we 
live." This is all very beautiful in motive, but, if I am 
not in error, it is wholly a mistake. It is not as a fact 
true that specific deeds of duty reveal the principles, 
dispositions, motives, presuppositions, and ideals which 
animate them. The spectator will interpret any deed of 
human kindness or mercy or justice done by another 
in the light of the principles which would animate him 
if he were to do the deed. Our deeds are not self- 
revealing as to their inmost secret. You cannot discover 
from a man's giving a cup of cold water to a dying 
neighbour whether he acted from a Mohammedan, 



Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Agnostic, or Mystic 
view of duty and the world. Our deeds do not point 
unequivocally to our piinc^jles >- except to cnir own 
intioq)ective observation. Our deeds pcunt, on the 
coEtrary, to each q>ectator's own princ^tJes wfaidi 
might have produced them. If a man wozb amcng 
the poor as a philanthropist in a netgfblxHiibood -v^MCxt 
hitherto only devout Chiiatians have d<Mie 90, every act 
of bis will be interpreted by the neighbouriiood as being 
done in the name and for the sake of Jeaus Christ — ot 
for whatevN motive is customarily assigned to Christian 
philanthropists. If a Jew whose features do not betray 
his race does philanthropic work among the Gentile poor, 
all the neighbours will draw the inference that he is woriung 
as a disciple of Christ. If an Agnostic do the same, 
not a living mortal could infer his "heresy" from his 
deeds. Or suppose a modem humanitarian was assisted 
by a Japanese in deUvering some suffering dumb animal 
from acute pain — how could any bystander detect that 
the hiunanitarian's deed emanated from a direct love for 
all sentient beings, while the Japanese was but illustrating 
his belief that some ancestor might be incarnate in the cat 
or dog and that on that account it should be relieved from 
pain? What possible difference in the deed of mercy 
could be detected which would cause the Occidental's 
act to point to humanism and that of the Oriental to 
spiritistic ancestor-worship ? It becomes quite clear that 
if you wish to disclose your morives, ideas, doctrines, or 
creed, you must resort to the practice of symbolic acts 
arbitrarily chosen and understood to signify adherence to 
exactly liose ideas and doctrines. The only alternative 
to symbolic acts is simply talking. With one's lips one 
must declare oneself Agnostic, Buddhist, Mohammedan; 
or else one must undergo some ceremonial act. And, 
indeed, even the declaration with one's lips, if hunted 



down, is found to be an arbitrary sign, outward and 
audible, for an inward and spiritual truth. The com- 
munity agrees that a man who declares himself a Roman 
Catholic is a Roman Catholic. By making that sign he 
actually throws in the weight of his influence on the side 
of Catholicism. Therefore to the community at large 
the public profession of faith with the lips is a symbolic 
deed which pledges a man. To know that a man is a 
Roman Catholic, we must have evidence that he has 
participated in some rite distinctive of that communion. 
I may have succeeded in convincing some readers that 
such a thing as a himianistic ritual is not only right, but 
necessary as a means of propaganda and to the building 
up of a national love of righteousness. 

5. A Spiritual Atmosphere 

Many adhere to the prevalent opinion that nothing but 
a belief in supernatural powers can create in a religious 
assembly what is called a spiritual atmosphere. Yet it 
is just the creation of an atmosphere in which one is filled 
with a sense of the infinite and of the supersensible and 
of the reality of an unseen imiverse, that a ritual purely 
human and scientific in its implications is pregminently 
fitted to achieve. 

What is, after all, the most sublime Reality, the supreme 
spiritual Power, in response to which the incUvidual human 
will and heart vibrate ? I say, without a moment's hesi- 
tation, it is the indwelling principle of righteousness 
animating a social group, the idealizing will of a commimity 
of hiunan beings. Whoever surrenders himself to the 
good of the community and to the cause of the good in the 
world as it is organizing, guiding, and inspiring the lives of 
a group of brave men and women, knows that he is 
experiencing that which is the Absolute Reality for the 



^»i« jUil 

rational will of every finite soul. As he reads the 
of devout and religious men of every creed, however 
supematuralistic, he sees that what they are describiDg 
as God is the reaUty which he himself has found and by 
which he lives. In terms of psychology and scxdology he 
may describe it simply as the spirit of humanity or the 
general will of the commimity; but however cautiously 
and restrainedly he thus designates it, he knows it and 
loves it as the Consoler, the Im^irer, the Saviour. 

In a meeting where there is no thougiht of personal agen- 
cies outside of the spiritual organism of human society, 
every individual person may be flooded, thrilled, and trans- 
figured in the sense of the glory and power, the dignity 
and presence of the spiritual organism in which he lives 
and moves and has his being, and to which he gladly sur- 
renders himself. In such a meeting of idealistic hiunan- 
ists one may find one's own private wish and desire merging 
and growing into the mighty creative will that blends 
millions of men in one organic nation. 

If it is a man's first experience of this moral trans- 
figuration, he forthwith imdergoes what is called religious 
conversion. If, despite previous experience and a full 
knowledge of its meaning and blessing, he has been living a 
life of base and abject subservience to petty interests, he will 
be filled with remorse and suffer the pain of cleansing fire. 

In a meeting where all present are filled with one idea, 
and that a great and humane one, where all are moved by 
one purpose and each is conscious of his own resiK>nsible 
contribution towards its fulfilment, no scoffer, no hardened 
sinner can escape the sense of the reality of a Power not 
himself and yet himself that makes for righteousness. 

The tidal wave of deeper souls 
Into our inmost being rolls, 
And lifts us unawares 
Out of all meaner cares. 


There may be those who have not even so much as heard 
that the higher will, the combined effort of many in the 
cause of humanity, is a Holy Spirit. Much less may they 
have heard the claim here made for it that it is the Holy 
Spirit, the same reality revealed to the world and rightly 
named by the earliest Christians. It was they who dis- 
covered it in that first losing and finding of themselves 
in their combined effort to spread the Gospel. 

There may possibly be reasons why the formative spirit 
of a group of himian beings bound in devotion to the moral 
ideal should not be called God or the Holy Ghost; but 
it is hard to see why any human being, professedly Chris- 
tian or not, should deny himself the blessing of being filled, 
cleansed, and strengthened by its power. If we analyze the 
spiritual atmosphere of religious meetings, we always find 
humanistic factors which adequately account for it. 

In the first place, not every religious meeting where 
those present believe in supernatural agencies can boast 
of a spiritual atmosphere. On the contrary, the organizers 
and leaders of all denominations openly confess, and with 
infinite grief, that days, months, and years pass where 
there is no such outpouring of the Holy Ghost as is to be 
desired. The mere belief in supernatural agents as the 
source of spiritual blessings by no means secures those 
blessings. Where there is pride and vainglory, where the 
preacher is believed to be a hypocrite, where the music is 
theatrical, where the living pillars of the church are known 
to be the supporters of iniquitous commercial enterprises, 
the congregation does not experience a season of the out- 
pouring of the Spirit. On the other hand, where the 
preacher is brave, humane, spiritually minded, indefatigable 
and self-sacrificing in his ministry, and the people hunger 
and thirst after righteousness, there at any moment it 
requires only concentration of attention to the end of deep- 
ening the inner experience, and a moral revival begins. 


But over and above such general conditions, one notes 
that this atmosphere dominates religious meeti n gs in 
proportion as all present have met more than halfway 
the purpose of the preacher and of the church. When 
each person comes with his mind already predisposed, 
disciplined by private and secret meditation and prayer, 
when each comes with his mind fixed upon the vision 
of perfect manhood and a perfect fellowship, the ver>' 
bearing and faces of men and women as they enter the 
church reveal their mind. When every member of a con- 
gregation is thus held by the Ideal, an unwonted serenit>', 
a sweet peace, pervades the meeting. Every person pres- 
ent is reenforced by the consciousness that ail are devoted 
to one end and are moving in spirit to the same goal. 

In speaking of the purpose and devotion of each indi- 
vidual present at a meeting, I have touched upon the funda- 
mental source of a spiritual atmosphere. In a church ser- 
vice where religion is interpreted wholly in a humanistic 
sense, every cause of spiritual redemption operates not 
less but more powerfully than where redemption is regarded 
as a miracle. For the human understanding now cooper- 
ates with the other psychic energies, sodal and personal, 
which induce redemption. 

It is in rehgion as it is in physics. A man may deny the 
vibratory theory, but the light takes no umbrage, and the 
sun blesses the man who misunderstands it, as well as 
the plant and animal which are wholly innocent of any 
theory whatsoever. Yet, on the other hand, a knowledge 
of the laws of light might lead to a new mastery of it in 
the service of man. For the same reason, we miist 
attack supematuralistic theories of the spiritual life, for 
the hastening of the Kingdom of Righteousness, without 
denying the untold benefit which the world has derived 
from the spiritistic religions of the past. 


Acdof, reUtiona eii»ting betmeQ litiuJ 
Mid, 358-361, 36J-368. 

Almighty, use of the word, iiS. 

America, the ^ttiitiul nsourcei o(, 3; 
recocnition of rignificmcc of inacticat 
ttatCHiiuuhip in nligioD ia, 8; lack 
of UDie of tlie Stale throusbout, 
I)~I3; tlM oation conaidend a law- 
ful pny to individuals id, 14; effect 
OD, of absence of a past, as amtraMed 
with Ezigiaud and her CEUturies of 
■udonal traditioii, ax-ij; present 
state of divorce between patriotism 
■nd reiigian in, 14; the cultural 
unity of, 15 ff, ; A. E. Zimmem 
quoted cat, 15-38; pioneering work 
Mill under my in, iS-ig '• hope for, 

30-31 ; actual evolution of. in ac- 
cordance with the law of her own 
being, 31-34; attitude o( the poor 
toward the rich in, 36-40; intuition 
ttrtui instinct and intellect in, 40-44; 
the educated, leisured, and revered 
dais composed ol women in. 45-40; 
the Jew* in, 50 S.; enthusiasra of 
Jews for, J0-14 ; spread and intensit)! 
of anti-Catholic feeling in, 10; hope 
for the sj^iitual unification of, in 
national idealism, 80-81; dangers 
to, of inti-patiiotic Socialism. 81-84; 
how to omserve spiritual naouices 
of, 85 S. ; emphasis to be laid on fact 
that the nation is nsenlially an 
organic spiritual being, 85-8S; 
America betteU the living church ol 
all Amerloni, SS-94; the religious 
denominations to be parties in the 
Natiim-Church, 94 ff. ; need of a 
national committee in, for 
churches with patriotism, 
poacd establithment of one 

of pnbUc wonUp In each State, 106- 
108; establishmait of Institutes for 
religious research, loS-iio; reia- 
tirai between Church and State in. 
iio-iii; a State church lordgn to 
prjnciplea of, 113-115; present anti- 
democratic attitude of religious sects 

Analytical proof of relation between 

ceremonial and religjoil, 347-351- 
Anarcby, permeating of Socialism by, 

Anglican Church, certain inoongruities 

in services of, 300-301. 
Apostles' Creed, origin of the. 311. 
Architecture as an element in ritual, 367. 
Arnold. Matthew, t^rMw,^ of, that 

Goodness is God, igj; truth about 

the Bible set forth by, tq5: insight 

of, into Christiin meanings, 106-107 ; 

"Uteraturc and Dogma" by. quoted, 

Art, eymbolisDi in. 371-373- 
Atbeist, discussion ol the word. i8i-iS4. 
^Nritual, created I^ use 
Ltual, 393-396. 

Bagehot, Walter, criticism of American 
Constitution and government by. ig; 
quoted on the essentially slow nature 
of progress, 161. 

Ball. John, < 

Baptism, a religious rite lacking in 

esthetic element, 345-346, 

ergaon, distinction nuuje by, between 

intuition, and instinct and intellect, 

Bcnutein, Edward, perception by. of 

danger of German SodaUsta' reliance 

upon intellect alone, 41. 



Bible, use of the word God b the, 105- 
107; MattfaEw Arnold's inlerpretalion 
of the (nessa^ of the, 106- loq ; origin 


Blake. William, quoted on prayer, 131. 
Book of Conunoa Prayer, origin and 

development of the, 318-jio; pleaa 

for revision of. 314-319. 
Buotb, General "In Darkest Elogland" 

Boston. thoughts Inspired by vjrit to 

itate capitol in. 96-^7, 
Browning, E. 6.. "Caaa Guidi Wio- 

dowi," quoted, 78-70. 
Buanen life, ritual in, jjo. 

Cupenter. Edward, the "Towardi 
Democracy" of. 170: qualificalioDa 

of. as a reviser of liturgies, 334. 

CatToU. W. D., "Religious Forces in the 
United States," died, o»-09. 1D>- 

Centre of public worship, proposed 
establishment of one new. in each 
Sute, 106-108. 

Ceremonial iu church services, ethics 
and, 303-306 ; necessary (o existence of 
religion, 34.4 5. ; historical proof, 344- 
347 ; analyliol proof, 347-35' : the 
ethical life and, 383-388. 5m Ritual. 

Chamberhun. Houston, lefutaLion of 
atBument of, coaceming Jews, 56-- 
S9. 60, 

Childrm, lack of tnditioaBt prejudices 
in, an argument for a new millennial 
hope, >s7-i5g: lessons for the ritualist 
taken from the training of. 377-381. 

China, the deUyed siuritual and political 
awakening of, bS: religious problems 
presented by contact with. 313. 

Chrin, use of word, by followers of 
luturaUstic school. 103-106, Sec 

Chrijlianity. identity of historic, and 
theUgber patriotism, T7-1S; grounds 
for the miUemiial hope in the union 
of science and, 147-143. 

Christlanily minus miracle, 157 fi. 

□irislian Science, advantage of a suit- 
able manual of worship illustrated 
by, i(is-»07. 

Christias Spiritism, the term, 160. 

Church, definition of the word. 101-103. 

Church and State, connectjcm between, 
in America, iio-iii. 

Church Comprehension League id Eng- 
land. 101. 

Churches, sociological functloD of, 13s 9.; 
quickening influence of. 1 39-141; 
fatal eSect of isolation upon, 176-177 ; 
introduction of nations] idealism into, 
OS-00 ; suggested cbangei 

11 3-1 


could be used in, 115-119; need of, 
to express the democratic faith. 167- 
36$; as compared with senncais. )ot- 
19s ; ethics and ceremooial ia, J04- 
306; the revison of, 306-307 ; cuwc 
in. 3ti6: literary art in, 366-367. Stt 
Liturgies and Ritual. 

Comtnittec, need of a lutiiBu], in 
Americs for p*""" 'i"g cbmdin 
with patriotism, loi. 

Communion of saints, author's poeitkiD 
in regard to, 160-161. 

Comte, Auguste, a nationalist, 71. 

Congreve, Dr., mistaken view of, re- 
garding prayer, 331-131 ; pelitioa 
really adrrutted into prayer by, ijj. 

Conversion, the social gencss of, m6- 

CoCperation rather tluui tolerstian 
needed in religion, 177^180. 

Cosmopotitanism, difiereat forins of, 
69; evils of, 71-72. 

Creator, view of, from bimuuiistic 
standptunt, 161-163. 

Creeds, reviuon of. 1 13 ; the right to 
adapt, 311-314- 

Dead, views hdd ot the, under human- 
istic teachings, IST-'SS. 

Dearmer, "Parson's Handbook," right 
relation between fine arts and ritual 
set forth in, 346-347. 

Debate as an item in public 

Democracy, worth to Americans of 
their teachings of, 19-31 ', antagonism 
of idea of religious sects to. 130-134; 
in religion, 167 B. ; need of charch 
■ervtcei for, 167-169; enui in i«k~ 
soning such as Sir Heniy Hai&e'a 




conceming, 369-371; the dsmamics 
of, must be borne in mind, 371-373. 

Demonism, rejection of, 161. 

Denominations, should become parties 
and not remain sects, 135-130; 
anti-democratic position of, under 
present regime, 130-134 ; fatal results 
of isolation of, 376-377. 

Devil, prevalent disbelief in a, 3x0; 
argument in favour of existence of, 
3IO-3I3; disbelief in, almost as de- 
plorable as disbelief in God, 3x3-313. 

Dickinson, G. Lowes, quoted on the 
power of ritual, 373-374- 

Dostoievsky, woriLS of, an example of 
law of dependence of literature upon 
nationality, 86-87. 

Drama and ritual, 367-368. 

Dress, considered as a matter of ritual, 

Dynamics of democracy, the, 371-373. 

East, religious problems arising from 
contact with the, 313-315. 

Elgar, Sir Edward, utilization of genius 
of, in revision of church services, 334. 

Eliot, George, " Spanish Gypsy" of, 
as a confirmation rite, 341-343. 

Emerson, R. W., poem of, used as 
hymn, 119; relation between early 
church training and religious experi- 
ence of, 140; state transcending 
prayer shown in writings of, 341 ; 
position of, regarding ethics and 
ceremonial in church services, 304- 
306 ; quoted on the development of the 
En^sh Bible and the liturgy, 3x8-3x9. 

England, spirituaUy a different sphere 
from America, 33; difference be- 
tween America and, caused by 
America's lack of a past, 33-33; 1^ 
spect of working-men for the " gentle- 
man class" in, 39; reliance of people 
of, upon instinct, 40-4 x ; position of 
women in, 49; Church Comprehen- 
sion League in, los; Established 
Church in, not national, 134-135; 
believers in the millennial hope in, 

Established Church in England, posi- 
tion of, 134^x35. 

Eternal, use of word, in naturalistic 
religion, 316-317. 

Ethics and ceremonial, 303-306, 356- 
358, 383-388. 

Eugenics, the religion of, 365-366. 

Evil, present-day awakening to a real- 
ization of the unity in the various 
forms of, 3XO-3X3; a living reality, 

Expatriation, the torture of, and arous- 
ing of patriotism by, 15-X6. 

Fine arts, absence of, in religious rites, 
does not prove an absence of ritual, 
345; statement of right relation be- 
tween ritual and, 346-347, 366-37X. 

Finland, recent assertion of nationality 
in, 74. 

" Five per cent, bonds of peace," 75-79- 

Forms of worship, prejudices against, 
and rules for passing judgment on, 

Froude, quoted on connection between 
the genius of a nation and great art, 

Germany, omnipresence of idea of the 
State in, 13-13; the Reformation the 
awakening of spiritual self-consdous- 
nessin, 18; continued reverence of 
the poor for the rich in, 39; reliance 
of people of, upon intellect rather than 
intuition or instinct, 41-43; attitude 
of men of, toward women, 49. 

Gladstone, W. E., quoted on the British 
and the American Constitutions, 41. 

God, view of, from humanistic stand- 
point, 16X-163; discussion of the 
word, 173-X74; definition of, 190; 
question of existence of a, 19X-X93; 
the teaching that Goodness is God, 
193-194 ; meaning of the word in the 
Bible and as used by poets and writers, 
X95-X97; the personality of, 197- 
3oi; decline of belief in, and in the 
devU, compared, 3x3-3x3. 

" God and the People," Rauschenbusch's, 

Goodness, view of, as God, 193-194. 

Bdl uid hcU-fire, teaching of, ■ desii- 

Hislorif penonmgES. pnym to, iij-iiS. 
Hflffd[n«. '■ The Philowphy of Religion." 

Holiness, UK of tenn, in ntlunlislic 

scheme of religion, 103. 
Holydays. observance of ethicil, 388- 

Holy Ghost, the working of, efleited by 

I soda! organiistion, 151-151. 
Hookn. Riduid. statesmanship in 

religion illnalraled by, 7. 
Hooper, use of won! God by, 106-107. 
Humui beings, addresring of pnyen 

10, »: 


of a 

c book of religiooa services, 

HuroaDistie church strvice, illustrative 

passages for use in, 115-ilg. 
Humanistic meaning of (beological 

Humanists in religion. ^34-335. 
Humaoitarianism, individualistic. 70- 

75; proofs of unity of purpose of 

natiooality asd, 74. 
Hjmuis, adaptation of, 311. 

launigration, dangen in, to America' 

welfare, ft7. 
locamation u{ tlod io Christ. 

nation, 1 

Individualism, rdigioui, consideration 
of, 135-154; of profes«d Socialists. 
J 75- J 76. 

Individualistic inttrpretation of reli- 
gious eiperiencc. the error underlying, 
' 35-1 39- 

infinili, correct use of the word, 317- 

Instil utes for religious research proposed, 

Inlellcctual interpretation, liberty of, 

International Peace Movement, selfish 
interests which inspire supporter? of, 1 

tellect. 40~44' 
Ireliind. vicloiy of nalionalily in, 7«. 
Isolation of churches, aiid disutisai 

eflects, 176-177- 

Japan, vain search for a State rebgioa 
by. 3 13-3' s- 

Jesus, bearing of the Jewish Cburrh 
upon religious eiperimn: of. 138, 1J9; 
has no active personal voice in pres- 
ent-day human affair^ 159; the foitie 
he does stiU exercise, 159-160; mia- 
lakc of attributing present mcthe 
power over man to. 165-166; ad- 
dressing of prayers to, »iS-j3o; the 
undeniable inspiration of his life, aiQ, 

Jews, statesmanship in nJigion illus- 
trated by indent, 7: identity of 
religion and patriotism ahown by, 1 7 ; 
enthusiasm of, for America. 50-s,j; 
true feeling of right -minded, in 
America, 54-56; the two voices of, 
as eipressed in the Old Testament. 
s5-5o; necessity devolving upon. 
of declaring their real attitude, S9- 
61; Zangwill's language as to. not 
suffidenlly expUdt. 61-63: dieckiii( 
of spiritual originality of. on account 
of false voice in Old Testament, 6^ 
66; preservation of the aullemaial 
hope by, 152-553; ceremonial as an 
aid to the moral character of, 387-388. 

JingfHsm vnced in the Hebrew scrip- 
tures, 56-57. 

Kingdom of Cod on earth, history of 
hope for the, 148-153, 

Kipling, Rudyard. quoted, ii-ii; sug- 
gested as a helper in revision of 
liturgies. J33- 

I I II wi titttmam^ 



Literary art in public worship, 366-367. 

Literature, dependence of, upon na- 
tionality, 86-87. 

Liturgies, the growth- of, 316 ff. ; the 
result of effort, 3x6-318; adaptation 
of rites of historic churches, 320-321 ; 
the right to adapt creeds, hymns, and 
prayers, 321-324; pleas for revision 
of, 324-328; old forms were new 
once, 329-332; poets who might be 
called upon for aid, 332-334 ; familiar 
acquaintance a requisite for judging, 
336-338; judgment of, based on 
their effect on the believer, 338-339; 
avoidance of monotony of reitera- 
tion, 340-341. See Ritual. 

Lord's Prayer, efficacy of, when ad- 
dressed to human beings, 221-222. 

Lord's Supper, as a ceremonial lacking 
in aesthetic element, 345-346. 

Luther, Martin, bearing of Catholic 
Church upon religious experience of, 
1 38* 139; the prophet for a time 
of the Kingdom of God on earth, 249. 


Maine, Sir Henry, error in argument 
of, concerning democracy, 269-271. 

Manual of national worship, need of a 
new, 291 ff. 

Marri^ige ceremony, ethical form of, 295. 

Marx, Karl, the menace of doctrines of, 

Mazzini, Guiseppe, a nationalist, 71. 

Methodists, the sin of, in isolating them- 
selves, 278. 

Mexico, consideration of present situa- 
tion in, 76. 

Millennium, new grounds of hope for 
the, in the union of Christianity and 
science, 247-248; history of the hope 
and expectation of coming of the, 
248-253; false basis of old hope of, 
founded upon supematuralism, 253; 
the new hope, which anticipates 
a heaven material as well as spiritual, 
254; sanity and purity of the new 
hope, 254-257; argument for, in the 
beneficial results of an improvement 
in the condition of the poor, 256-257 ; 
argument for, found in unbiassed 
condition of young children, 257- 

259 ; possible rapidity of achievement 

of, 261-265. 
Milton, Wordsworth's sonnet viewed 

as a prayer to, 226-228. 
Miracle, Christianity minus, 157 ff. 
Monistic spiritism, rejection of, 161-163. 
Monotheism, use of word, 182. 
Morley, Lord, plea of, for revision of 

religious forms, 327-329. 
Music in church services, 366. 


National church, a voluntary, 120-133; 
an un-American idea, 123-125; dif- 
ference between a State church and, 

National idealism, the religion of Ju- 
daism, 17; historic Christianity and, 
17-19; disappearance of religious 
sects with establishment of, 129. 

Nationalism, should enter into a true 
Peace Movement, 78; antagonism 
of Church of Rome to, 79-82. 

Nationality, sympathy of leading hu- 
manitarians for principles of, 71-72; 
danger to, of anti-patriotic Socialism, 
82-84; 1<^^ of dependence of litera- 
ture upon, 86-87. 

Naturalism, discussion of term, x66- 

Newton, Sir Isaac, a believer in the 
Millennium, 250 

Norway, recent solidification of nation- 
ality of, 74. 


Old Testament, two voices in, expres- 
sive of Jews' view of themselves and 
other races, 56-59; injury wrought 
to Jews by false voice in the, 65-66. 

Paine, Thomas, quoted, 70. 

Parties and sects, religious, 125-130. 

Patriotism, arousing of spirit of, by 
temporary expatriation, 15-16; iden- 
tity of religion with the higher, 16-17 ; 
identity of historic Christianity and, 
17-18; religion and, two different 
things in America, 24 ; effect of identi*- 
fication of religion and, by the Jews 

: of. br 

tim* b AnMtiM Aoold be 
Icr tha lagtan^ rf tlw 

Turn, SmM HvaM" oft 313- 


Poor, rdadoni o( the ildi lad the, Id 
AmeHca u (omparcd with other 
couatiies, 56-40; boiefidal resulu 
of an improvement in condition of, 
u irgument for s naturalistic mil- 
lennial hope, 156-157. 

Portugal, the awalcening of qaritual 
autonomy in, 74. 

PoiitJvistic pnycr, exclunon of pelilioa 
from, >3i-jji. 

Poverty, Fallacy of glorification of, by 
the weL-lo-do, 255-157. 

Pnyer, as a religious and a theological 

wherdn lies tlie efficaiy of, iiQ-iio: 
aiguments in justification of, 110; 
answered by human beings, 110-111; 
outward practices to be followed in 
""V'''C. 111-133; addressed to the 
absent, 113-114; misdirected, but 
UEwered through being overhcaril, 
114-115 ; offered to historic per- 
sonages, ii5~>iS; to Jesus, 118-130; 
addressed to the grat tendencies and 
institutions of human sodeEy, 130- 
151 ; ia not merely communion, 131- 
13*: in the fint place msital, but 
needs to be formulated in words and 
uttered in qieedi, 134 ; to be adequate 
should be uttered in public, 134-136 ; 
the emotional elevation of, 136-13S ; 
I of fact in, 138-140; a 
* ttbC fonn of, 

140-141; tbe value of ethical tow 

decLamtions, 141-246. 
Freaching, iiiade((tmcy of. as Mb h- 

stnuncnt ol propa^^anda, ijt jw 
Psychology of pubUc warship, 34« £ 
Public prayer, 134-136. 
Public worship, establishment «( ■•* 

centre of, in each state, tofr-MS; 

dabau to be H it^ te, t»o-ats; 

tVtU ko (t, u*~S7t: ^fc i M OiMlr 

■ood dMdi ol ^»>Mi. SmSMm- 

QoikHi, dsear rf die d 

dramatic and doqncnt 
ceremtmial. 344-341- 
Quin, Hilcotm, attanpted csdoBoa 
by, of petition from pr«y«r, aji-iu. 

Rauschenbusdi, "God and the People" 

by, 313. 
Redemption, significance of wont, in 

humanistic religion, 116. 
Reformation, significance of the, enn- 

Religion, statesmanship in. 6--e ; idcntltj 
of the higher patriotian and, 16-19: 
sepaiation of patrlotiam uid, in 
America, 14 ; religioui and thcokiglal 
use ol word, 173, 174; invcsticatioa 
of what is meant by, 184-1S5; Her- 
bert Spencer's error ,coocsming, 186 ; 
definition of, resulting from diacovcrie* 
by psychologists, 187; varying desieca 
of development of, according to de- 
velopment of power ol focusaiiig atten- 
tion on some Bong, 187-1S8; diSenece 
in rational and in practical value of 
religions, 1S8; apparsitly contradic- 
tory practices in tlie leak-^levdtved 
forms of, i8S-iSg; not ahraya benefi- 
cent in its efileds, 1S9; a rcsiettabte 
use of cuttent qieech to identily the 

— - - •^-— "C — »-■— «^^*^^^»*« 



word with the only true and right 
religion, 189 ; definition of, proves ab- 
surdity of declaring that it has to do 
with the supernatural, 190; co5pera- 
tion needed in, and not mere tolera- 
tion, 277-280; the social psychology 
of, 283-284. 

Religious parties versus sects, 125-130. 

Religious research, institutes for, 108- 

Religious rites, prejudices against, and 
rules for judging, 336-343- 

Repentance, definition of, 203. 

Revelation, Book of, a document in 
behalf of the Millennium, 251-252. 

Revision of Book of Common Prayer, 

Revivab, spontaneity not necessarily 
desirable in, 148, 150-151. 

Ritual, the growth of, 3x6-318; famil- 
iar acquaintance with, necessary for 
passing judgment on, 336-338, judg- 
ment of, based on effect of service on 
the believer, 338-339; proofs of 
connection between religion and, 344- 
351; indispensability of, not due to 
supematuralism, 356; the ethi- 
cal meaning of, 356-358; dif- 
ference between acting and, 358-362 ; 
relation of acts of, to other deeds in 
real life, 362-363; reasons for exist- 
ence of a social-democratic, 363-365; 
relation between the fine arts and, 366- 
371 ; the symbolism in, 373-374 ; 
effects of, working through the senses, 
374-383; creation of a spiritual 
atmosphere by, 393-396. See Litur- 

Robins, Elizabeth, "Votes for Women,'' 
reference to, 359. 

Roman Catholic Church, statesmanship 
in religion illustrated by, 7; protest 
of nationalities against dominance of, 
74; anti-nationalism of the, 79-82; 
p^rchology of ritual of, 346, 370; 
music in services, 366. 

Sa b bath, observance of an ethical, 388- 

Saint, definition of, in naturalistic 
scheme of religion, 203. 

Saints, power of, limited to their earthly 
existence, i6o-i6x. 

Salvation, meaning of, in a naturalistic 
religion, 216. 

Savonarola, relation between Catholic 
Church and religious experience of, 
138, 139 ; as the prophet of an earthly 
Kingdom of God, 249. 

Science, grounds for a new millennial 
hope in union of Christianity and, 
247-248, 253; a religion based on, 
an innovation, 259-260; power of, 
to unify men, 307-310. 

Scientific management in America, 44. 

Sects, discussion of religious parties and, 
125-130; anti-democratic spirit of, 
130-134; the splitting off of, a sin, 
278 ; urgent need of a new instrument 
to settle the strife between, 310-311. 

Seeley, Sir John, expression by, of 
identity of true religion and the higher 
patriotism, 19; quotations from, 19- 
21; use of term "naturalism" by, 
166; position of, concerning ethics 
and ceremonial in church services, 

Seelye, Julius, author's indebtedness to, 

Self-made man in religion, 141-144. 

Self-respect, teaching of, a chief char- 
acteristic of sodal-democratic reli- 
gion, 284-288. 

Senses, effects of ritual working through 
the, 374-383. 

Shakespeare, Emerson quoted on one 
phase of work of, 319-320. 

Shaw, Bernard, as a reviser of liturgies, 

Signs, outward, need of an ethical ideal- 
ism for, 391-393- 
Sin, meaning of word, 210. 
Sodal character of prayer, 234-236. 
Social democracy, in religion, 267 ff. ; 

self-res];>ect in religion taught by, 284- 

Social Democratic Party in Germany, 

fatal reliance of, upon intellect, 42. 
Sodal-democratic ritual, reasons for 

existence of a, 363-365. 
"Social Hymns," Patten's, 313. 
Socialism, danger of an anti-patriotic, to 

spiritual autonomy of nations, 82-84 ; 

mingling of Asarchy with, 275-276. 


SodsluU. Iht nligjou 

Sodol psydiology i 


1 0[ the churches, 

r of, rcEirding 

Spiritism, discussion of tcrat, 1&7. 
Spiritual, si£iii&ca4ice af word, 4-6, 
Spiritual atmosphete crested by a, 

ritual, 3gj-j(*. 
Spiritual resaurcrs, meiuuDg of term, 4 : 

the coiiaerVELtlciii of, ^-a ; methods of 

conieiving America's, 85 S. 
Slate, presence of the, in Germany. 

compHRd with abKace of ' ' 

Slate church. di3ereDce between a 
national church and, ii^-iis. 

Slatnmanship in religion, the nted of, 6 ; 
illustrated by St. Paul, andent 
Judaism, the Roman Catholics, and 
others, 6-S, 

Subsidiary patriotism. 54-56. 

Supematuialisin. iocrease in rejection 
of, in religion. I3s-ii6; to be pre- 
ferred to individualistic occultism. 
'53-'S4; elimination of. under hu- 
manistic interpretation of religion, 
isy; effects ol disording of, on our 
views of the dead, including Chris). 
Virgiii Mary, the saints, and other 
iupcmaturai agenta, 157-108; dis- 
carding of, does not ir . ' 
of theology, iBo-iSi ; discarding 
does not involve discardiag of prayer 
and its benefits, 34b ; as a false basis 
of the millennial hope. 148, 15 j; 
religiona based on, do not teach self- 
respect to man, 1S4-1S5 ; indis- 
peniability of religious rites and ^gna 
not due to. JS&: belief 
suy to create a sinritual atmosphere 
in a religious assembly, 393-396. 

Slriobunie, Algemoti, conception at God 
let forth by, i;^; prayers in 
of. '37-138- 

Symbolism. of dress, 351-356; 
in ait and in religion, 371-37^. 


Thdsni. use of word, 181. 

Theological language, humj 

ingof, i7lff- 

Theology, retention of, 

sign of the word, 176-iSt 
Turner, FrolesBor, quoted, ^ 

Unification o( men by : 

Uniforms, connection between, and 

ritual, 3SJ-3S3- 
Unitarianiim, devitaliuitioii of. 179. 
Unitarians, incongruous adherence to 

traditional rites in services of. joi. 
Universities of America, ptomulgatioo of 

the new patriotism in, (jft-ioo ; eflorli 

of, should be supplemented by the 

churches, loo-ioi. 

The UigbcT PaotbdM," 

. 30T- 

' Varieties of Religiou 
James's, discussion of 

I'irgin Mary, attitude 
toward, 160, 

Ward. Junes, " Naturalion tnd Agaos- 

tidim"hy. i56. 
Wars, points of view for condemning, 

Watson, William, quoted, igg: as a 

Wells, H. G., quoted on income tax in 
America, ig: on Jews in America, 
50; on the new consdence awakened 
in America, 100. 

Wesley, Charles, a believer in the mil- 
lennial hope, 350. 

Wesley. Jolm. practical statwmanslup 
in religion shown by, 7-S; relation 
between AngUcan Church training 
and the religious eipenence of, 13S; 

Wesleys, hymns of the, jis. 

White, Awbew D, quotod cm hope of 
America rcindDC in her ooQeaci ud 
UDhrcnllla, go-ioo. 

Whhe SUve tiaffic. 77- 

Widil, John. ■ prophet d the HIDeD- 

Womeo, poAStm of, Id AnerioL pecut 

Ur to that countiy, 45-49. 
WonUp, definltioa at, 103 ; need a< a 

new muiual of mrtiwal, 191 B. Stt 


Zantwin. Inad, oltldBn ot lack a( 
podtlveoeH Id stUement* of, con- 
cemlnf Jews, 61-6} 1 gadui o(, tult- 

ZimsKTo, A. E., ImimiiMU of Atterica, 

quoted and oitidied, 15-18. 
Zueblin, quoted conceniini women in 

t-.f rfr-T^.M. 


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The publication of " Social Worship " sprang from the conviction of 
the Members of the West London Etnical Soaety, that no more fitting 
memorial could be found for the first twenty-one years of their pioneer 
work as propagandists of humanistic religion. But by a fitting memorial 
they meant not simply something that would reflect what the society has 
been and done, but something mat would advance the cause they had 
at heart. They believed that a book embodying in the best form acces- 
sible the ideals, principles and policies to which they have been devoted, 
might carry their gospel, within a short period of years, to a £Eur larger 
portion of the world than any personal propaganda which thev could 
mitiate. . . . They have felt, in short, that the Relip[ion of Science, 
Democracy and Personal Responsibility in the Service of Humanity 
must become, like Buddhism, Christianity and Mohammedanism, a 
reliffion of a book. . . . Our ambition has been, to do — so fax as 
comd be feasible, after only twenty-one short years of organised effort 
— for the enthusiasms, visions and motives which have drawn us into 
religious fellowship, what the writers and compilers of the New Testa- 
ment did for their own relk[ious experiences and those of their imme- 
diate predecessors, in colfecting the sayings and traditions current 
aunong them ; or what the editors of the Old Testament did for the 
moral idealism of their race. . . . 

"... the most valuable book of the kind that has ever been pub- 
lished. Its selection of material from the great moral and religious 
literatures of the world is made with ^eat care, is thorou^ly cauolic 
in spirit and represents a range which is simply astonishing. The 
Bible, Eastern Scripture, Plato, Milton, Sir Thomas More, Shake- 
speare, Bacon, Goethe, Wordsworth, Emerson, Whitman, Brownins, 
Henry George, Huxley, Bernard Shaw, Ibsen, ZangwiU — these are onfy 
a few of the authors quoted, but they show at least the many and wide 
sources which have bMn tapped. Especially helpful is the classification 
of these selections and ttie running summary at the head of each. The 
book also contains services for special occasions such as funeral and 
marriage services, and numerous introductory and dismissory sentences 
which are exceedingly useful for the practical purposes of public worship. 
All in all, I fbel that this book is almost as indispensable to the modem 
minister as the traditional Old and New Testament" 

— Dr,Jokn Ha^ftus Holmes, 


PnUlslMn 64-46 Fifth ATunie Vaw York 

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The Story of PHaedrus 

How We got the Greatest Book in the World 

iliful idealistic story uf how ihc eatly Christian chraniclei 
and books nf Ihf New Testament were preserved through the ye»r% 
by the love and labors of a literary slave," 

OeUi, tias nd 
By Professor Veddei 

The Reformation in Germany 

Pratesor of Chuidi History in Crom TlwolDgical Saniaaiy 
" One of the meet interesting, and fat p<^>iiUr reading one of tbt! 
moit valnable, hiitorical worki of recent yean--- dnhfying the vmI 
unonnt of nttterill which the last twenty yean have produced and 
fnraiihing aa interpretation baaed «paa Ike economic oattio of the 
Retbrmation. Profenor Vedder hai written a book emphaticaBf 
to read nther than to codsuU." 

% Dr. EkittwwisMr 

The Prophetf of Israel 

" A Inntnoos itudy lA the hnman ride of the btcinry IletM«w 
prophets, preseotins them as srcal and tragif characteia appaaiiig 
inevitable ditaxter, and ahowing that even the ttrong BMn of Aia 
century are brought face to bee with many qnettjon* rirnitar to the 
iMuaa of (M TcaUpwnt tines." 



M-aS nftt AnatM Vmr TWfc 

-•^-■^*' _ 


Bj Rrofesaor Btsckea 

Can We Still be Christians? 

By RUDOLF EUCKEN, Ph.D. (University of Jena) 
Nobd Prixeman, 1908. The Views of flie Learned German Philosopher 

" As to what constitutes the Teritable essence of that Christianity 
which alone can appeal to the modem mind — a progressive historic 
movement which can be recognized as still in the making, if it 
be shaken from the numbing influence of ecdesiasticism and placed 
upon a broader foundation." 

Cloih, $1^5 nd 

By Dr. Fosdiek 

The Assurance of Immortality 



'Wealth of thought, massive fundamental stir, humanism, 
spiritual idealism, contagious hope, the resistless cKnch of cumu- 
lative logic, manly, popuUr eloquence which make a direct appeal 
to the man who has grown indifferent as to whether or not immor- 
tality is true." 

Clothf $1.00 net 

By Presideat Htnula 

The Religion of Japan 

President of Doshisha University, Kyoto 

"An admirable analysis of Japan's religions and ethical beliefii 
with concise and unbiased reasons explaining why the Japanese do 
not accept Christianity readily — an issue momentous both for the 
Occident and the Orient" 

Goth, $ias nd 


PuMiihMn 94-^ liflh Atwm H«w York 


Work and Wealth : A Human Valuation 

By ]. A. HOBSON, M.A. 
Author of" Indusnio] Society," " Jobn Ruskin, Social Refonner/'elc 
Clatk, Sve, $3.00 tut 
Mr. Hobson li an econombl of atablishcd reputation whose wdtings 
haw for yratisbcen eagerly r«ad by his lellow-ecanoniisa. The purpose 
of this, bis laleu work, is lo prescni a just and fonna] eiposure of the 
inhumanity and vital waste of modem ioduslrips by the dose applica- 
tion of the best approved formulas of individuaJ and social welfare, and 
to indicate the most hopeful measures of remedy far a society sufficient!}' 
inlelligent, courageous and seJ-govcrning to apply them. The wholly 
satis^ng fashion in which the author has achieved this purpose results 
in a suggestive and stiniulaling review from a novel standpoint of prob- 
n which all students of economy are interested. Nol only is the 
bookanlmpoftantcontrfbution to theliteimtnreofltsfield: h b no less 
valuable in iti bearing on genera] quesdons of the day wltb whldi other 
dhan purely professional economists are coDcemed. 

Where and Why Public Ownership Has 


CUtk, iimt. $,.jo net 
Wliat have state ownership and operation accomplished in the w>y 
of lax and other reforms in those cases where they have been tned ? 
Yves Guyot, statesman, traveler, editor, econcoiist, here answers this 
question in perhaps the most exhaustive treatise thus &r puUished upon 
the subject. A glance at a few of the topics covered is a sufHdent index 
of the comprehensive character of the work : — Municipal Activity of 
the United Kingdom. The United Stales, Germany, Russia, France, 
Austria-Hungary, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium. Sweden ; Stale 
Operation of Raiboads; State and Municipal Bookkeepmg and Fi- 
nances; Private versus Public Initiative; The Housing of the Work- 
ing Class; State and Municipal Extravagance; Political and Social 
Consequeocea of a Socialist Program. 


Fnbliilwn 64-M TifUi Atuiiu Haw T«A 

^^^SSS ir. I II i^ia^JdlXwaai 


Violence and the Labor Movement 


Autfior of" Poverty.'* " Sodalisls at Work/' etc. 

Cldh^ I2m0, $1^ mi 

This book deals with the mighty conflict that raged throughout the 
latter part of the last century for possession of the soul of labor. It 
tells of the doctrines and deeds of Bakounin, Netchayeff, Kropotldn, 
Ravachol, Henry, Most and Caserio. It seeks the causes of such out- 
bursts of rage as occurred at the Haymarket in Chicago in 1886 and are 
now being much discussed as Sjmdicalism, Ha3rwoodism and Larkin- 
ism. It is a dramatic, historical narrative in which terrorism, anardi- 
ism, syndicalism and socialism are passionately voiced by their greatest 
advocates as they battle over programs, tactics and philosophies. 

Progressivism and After 


Author of " The Larger Aspects of Socialism,*' 
** Socialism As It Is," etc. 

Clotht i2mo, $ mt 

This is a book which every flioughtful socialist, social reformer and 
those to whom social reform makes any appeal, ought to read. Mr. 
Walling views social and economic questions as a thinker and student, 
never merely as a theorist or partisan. In the political events of the 
last few jrears Mr. Walling sees much that is significant not only for the 
present but for the future. What the progress of affidrs in the next 
generation is to be he outlines in this work in a fiishion that is as con- 
vincing as it is unusual from the socialistic standpoint Of particular 
interest are his analyses of President Wilson, Colonel Roosevelt and 
other prominent leaders, while his description of that which has been 
and that which is to come is trendiant and keen. Whether one agrees 
with his predictions or not, the force and clearness with which the issues 
are indicated distinguish the volimie for all kinds of readers. 


PaUidwn 64-e6 Tifth At«bm Vtw York 


Progressive Demoaacy 

Lulhoi of " Tlie Piomise of Ameiicui Ljfe " 

CieA, SvB, t^M> met 

The ODJect of the anflior in t) 
fim place antlyxHl the modeni , 

(his coimtiy in oidei lo separate lu ts»Eiuuu num us iiuii<.-u<:iiLim in- 
gredients to discover whether (here is any reitl issue between American 
progressiTlsni and American conservatism. In ttie second place be 
has tried Id recanslruct the hisloricnl backi^oijad of progressivisai lo 
Me what loots or lack of roots it has in the American polilicaJ and 
economic iradilion. Atid finally he has atlempiallo trace what we may 
reasonably expect from the progresaive tnovement. lo ihow whoi toofe 
it must use in order to carr^ out ita pronui and what chums it has on 
the support of patriotic Ametiouis. Th': work seeks, therefore, to 
express for the first lime a consistently educational theory of democracy. 

Democracy and Race FrictioD: A Study 
in Social Ethics 


Profatsor of Phlloaophy in the Uninnity of Pitaburg 

Cletk, lima, %i^s "^ 

_..__ ^_r ii BOt to p 

« problem, trtiich he balicvB to b* faiaal^ . 
•d indkale as dearly aa pouible what the ptoblem really iorolna, i 
With this end in view he has brought to wax upon the subject Qie 
results of the work reccn'ly done in social ps3TliolQgy by lad) men ai 
Tarde, Baldwin, McDougall, Rosi, and othns. Ad anKlytiS of ttc 
•odal principles by which the individual lives himMtf iBlo tha Uva t£ 
the group and at tlK s;<me time attains meatal and moral maturi^ is 
fbOowed by an exam ination of race traits with spedal releience to tfaa 
Neero to determine how ftx Ibey Influence the proeest Of betOBlnff 
•odal and solid with one'* fellows. Tbe resnlu thai (aiDcd aie utiUacd 
(o explain the imperfect way in which the Negro has assimilated flw 
dviliiation of the whiteand why the color line appeals imiTeisallywIuie 
whites and blacks are brought togeAier in large nmnbeis. Tin book 
dote* wHh an attempt at a restatcmeDl of Qie Mr — ' ' -■ 








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